KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — Criminals using online scams looted RM10 million from six hundred consumers within the first half of this year — a jump in cases from the same period last year.
Last year just 494 such cases involving RM3.65 million in losses were reported within the capital city alone but this increased to 613 cases for the same period this year where RM10.64 million was stolen, Sentul police chief Beh Eng Lai told news portal Free Malaysia Today.
The massive spike in online scam cases coincided with the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions and religious and other festivals, he said. Many of the cases involved fake advertisements on social media which baited the buyers, Beh Noted.
“When there were festivities like Chinese New Year and Hari Raya, the cases spiked,” he told FMT.
“They would ask you to install certain applications to overwrite your SMS function and direct you to certain phishing websites to enter your banking details. And your money in the bank is gone."
Some of these cases have also been linked to the increasingly popular TikTok platform.
“The scammers provide a link in the postings which lead the gullible social media users to them,” Beh said.
While police did not disclose the number of scam cases involving each social media platform, they said most of the victims reported that they had attempted to buy gadgets, especially handphones.
Of the 613 cases in Kuala Lumpur this year, 386 comprised women. In the same period last year, 381 out of the 494 cases were men.