The Macau Scam is not a new one. It’s a phone scam that sees a scammer pretending to be an official bank or government agent in the hopes of cheating money.
Despite numerous reports about Macau Scams and warnings from the police, some are still losing thousands of ringgit to the scam. Just this month, two victims were scared into coughing up their life savings.
Yesterday, Astro Awani reported that a woman lost RM39,199 of her savings when she became one of the latest victims of the scam.
The lady, who’s in her 50’s—let’s call her Ms A, received a call from an individual claiming to be a court official from the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Wednesday (10 October). The “court official” informed Ms A that a company existing under her name had GST payments in arrears of up to RM85,700.
Ms A denied owning such a company, insisting that she didn’t owe anyone any GST payment. When that happened, her call was transferred to another individual claiming to be an investigating officer from Bukit Aman.
The “investigating officer” told Ms A that she had been involved in money laundering transactions of up to RM1.2 million. He then asked for her bank details so he could stop her accounts from being frozen while the case was being “investigated”.
At this point, a panicked Ms A didn’t know what to do and immediately gave her bank details to the “investigating officer”. After giving out the details, Ms A was asked to stay on the line for a few minutes while the “officer” carried out initial investigation.
Later, when Ms A checked her bank accounts, she realised that her savings had been transferred to a third party via online transactions.
In another case that took place earlier in the week, a 55-year-old lorry driver fell for the same scam in Kuantan (let’s call him Mr B). According to New Straits Times, Mr B received a call from a woman claiming to be from Alliance Bank. She told him that he had defaulted on a RM30,000 loan and now owes the bank RM1,056.
Similar to Ms A, Mr B denied the accusation and his call was forwarded to the ‘police’. This time, the scammer claimed to be from the “Terengganu police headquarters” and the “sergeant” on the phone informed Mr B that he was involved in money laundering activities. He even added drug smuggling to the mix!
The “sergeant” then advised Mr B to contact an “Inspector Helmi”, who would provide him with a bank account number, which Mr B had to deposit money into. Unfortunately, Mr B bought the scam and deposited cash amounting to RM13,000 on three separate occasions before he realised that the suspect, who was giving instructions on the other end, had disconnected the call.
According to Malaysian authorities, the scam is categorised as a telecommunication fraud and the perpetrators are a part of a syndicate from Taiwan and China that are using local and international lines from Hong Kong.
So, remind your friends and family to avoid disclosing any personal information such as bank account details to anyone over the phone. Or, just avoid answering calls from any unknown numbers lah! Better safe than sorry!