‘I believe the twin pillars to address this are awareness and technology which are key to tackling this scourge with support from a wide cross section of jurisdictional support from law and order groups globally sharing intelligence and working together!’
MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE ON KEEPING THEM HONEST SERIES – TARGETING SCAMMERS!
Not shocked, but, I was taken aback when friends in the security apparatus and law and order shared with me that Malaysians are the most vulnerable to internet scams based on reported and unreported cases!
The target group comes from all ages, races, religions, educational and careers groups!
Almost every day, we are reading headlines about another victim and huge sums of monies cheated!
Here is a list of the most common scams happening in Malaysia:
1. Illegal Money Lenders Claimed To Be ‘Licensed’
2. The EPF Scam Syndicate
3. The Travel Package Scam
4. The Australian visa scam.
5. The Lottery Scam
6. The African Scam
7. The Romance Scam
Did you realize that there are hardcore reports that in 2016, it was reported that Malaysians have lost RM44 million to African scammers.
And it is not unusual to hear or read that Malaysian police have rounded up 44 African scam members, which means the scam is still actively running in Malaysia.
The sad fact is despite all the media talk shows that my colleagues and I have done on this matter Malaysians are still falling victims to it, with 90% of African scam victims being women.
And I cannot understand what facilitates this in view the media blitz?
We have repeatedly highlighted the DNA or signs to watch out for!
Despite that the statistics keep growing!
There are far too many cases and this is a shocking fact that there are individuals – Men who befriend female victims through social media and then woo them into a “relationship”.
These shenanigans use fake photos of good looking men, who are usually Caucasian.
The outlying thing and modus operanti is they will avoid meeting you in person, or video communication.
Their mode of contact or communication will usually be restricted to calls, e-mails or instant messages only.
Eventually these scammers usually blacks will tell victims they have sent cash or expensive gifts but it is stuck with the Customs Department, Immigration or a bank.
This happened to a member of my church!
Then an individual claiming to be an authority will contact victims and ask for money to be banked into their personal bank account before the cash or gifts can be released to them.
This ‘caller’ will usually ask the victims for several collateral payments into their personal account.
Once the transfers are initiated these shenanigans can no longer be contacted and the victim in this case the church member never received the items or cash.
Their “friend” will also be no longer contactable.
According to CASSA investigations these scams are still progressing because we have locals aiding and abetting them!
Let me be blunt here, we have Malaysian women predominantly Malay, poorly educated, single mothers, factory workers, GROs and others aiding them.
The Nigerian men behind these scams enter Malaysia as students in local private colleges because of poor surveillance and audits!
These local women are then usually used because they will provide access as Malaysian bank account-holders who will also pretend to be authorities to scam victims.
This is what I call a romance fraud and you will be surprised how much hard earned cash or savings is stolen by these shenanigans!
I have repeatedly cried out my protection mantra and it goes like this if people are reading and taking it seriously!
Avoid giving away too many personal details when dating online.
Revealing your full name, date of birth and home address may lead to your identity being stolen.
Never send or receive money or give away your bank details to someone you only met online, no matter how much you trust them or believe their story.
Fraudsters want to quickly switch to social media or texting so there is no evidence or paper trail of them asking you for money.
I cry out again please do spot the spot the signs!
You are struck up in a relationship with someone online and that person is asking a lot of personal questions about you, but they are not interested in telling you much about themselves.
In several instances these conman typically hail from Nigeria, Ghana and some are living in the UK and other sheltering countries for refugees but involved with crime cartels and dupe lonely, middle-aged men and women from the US, Europe, Australia, Asia and Western Europe through matchmaking services.
They invent a reason to ask for your help, using the emotional attachment you have built with them.
Monies for an emergency, to pay for a contract received, to travel, an investment opportunity and so forth!
Remember that their pictures are too perfect – they may have been stolen from an actor or model.
Remember reverse image search can find photos that have been taken from somewhere else.
How it happens as I see it.
It is true that the majority of accounts on dating websites are genuine people looking for romance, but in that pool are also fraudsters attempting to contact you by making fake profiles, getting in touch and building what feels like a loving relationship.
Once a fraudster using a fake dating profile is confident that they will strike!
My investigations reveal that scammers are increasingly using targeted social engineering attacks against their victims due to the extremely high success rate!
These attacks not just target individuals, but also organizations and much as I fear is evolving!
I believe the twin pillars to address this are awareness and technology which are key to tackling this scourge with support from a wide cross section of jurisdictional support from law and order groups globally sharing intelligence and working together!
I am confident that techniques can be deployed that allow malicious individuals to be tracked and as time goes by we can build up a reservoir and data base on these shenanigans!
I have always appealed for an international framework of joint operations where stakeholders share information and jointly investigate cases according to agreed procedures and technical processes!
As for Malaysia, I am proud that our security apparatus here is working round the clock to detain all those in this local and international racket!