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JOHOR BARU, Jan 29 — Several senior state Umno leaders’ pictures have been used by a scammer to dupe unsuspecting victims in parting with their cash for the past two weeks.
According to sources from Umno, the scammer has a fixed pattern and will usually impersonate as the politician via a WhatsApp profile picture from an unknown mobile number.
The scammer, using a 010-386 5922 mobile number under a DiGi pre-paid line, has been actively attempting to scam people since early this month.
Checks through the mobile spam blocking app TrueCaller revealed that the number has 50 spams reported so far.
Sources confirmed with Malay Mail that the mobile number was the one involved in multiple attempts to trick unsuspecting victims.
The scammer will contact the unsuspecting victims via WhatsApp text message desperately wanting to borrow money for reasons that are usually for social community services.
“From the WhatsApp screenshots by several contacts, the scam seems to involve direct online money transfers for assistance and aid for school computer programmes in various constituencies statewide,” he said.
The source said the scammer in order to not look suspicious will explain that the phone number belongs to a friend.
“Based on several cases among Johor party leaders, the scammer will sound that he is in an urgent need for money as his online bank accounts are over the limit or he is busy at a meeting,” said the source, adding that the scammer uses the Facebook profile pictures of several Umno politicians as his WhatsApp profile pic.
Two days ago, Johor Umno Youth chief Hairi Mad Shah revealed on Facebook that his profile picture was used by a scammer to trick unsuspecting victims to solicit money via online bank transfers.
When contacted by Malay Mail today, Hairi said he was made aware that there was someone impersonating him through his contacts.
“Among those who have received the message from the scammer include my friends and also several Umno division chiefs and senior members.
“The scammer used my profile picture through a number that was not mine in the WhatsApp message sent to his victims,” he said.
Hairi, who has lodged a police report on Tuesday, believed that the scammer impersonating him has used the same modus operandi and have so far used profile pictures of other Johor politicians mainly from Umno.
Earlier today, Johor Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Salleh Abdullah said police are tracking down a suspect who impersonated a Johor assemblyman and tricked a 55-year-old man into parting with nearly RM5,000 for a school computer programme that turned out to be fake.
He said the case was being investigated according to Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.