A 66-year-old property agent has fallen victim to perhaps the most high-profile scam this year, losing a whopping RM7 million to someone pretending to by a Ministry of Health official.
In a statement yesterday, Brickfields police chief ACP Amihizam Abdul Shukor said the scammer called the victim on May 18, telling her she possessed 52 doses of the Sinovac vaccine purchased illegally under her name, and the ministry was about to take action on her. He then passed the phone to a “policeman”, who told the victim she had a warrant of arrest for being involved in an illegal money laundering scheme.
“Believing the story, the victim was told to open seven new local bank accounts and surrender all bank account information to the suspect,” Amihizam said. “The victim was then ordered to transfer her money amounting to more than RM7 million into the seven new accounts.”
He added that the victim only realised she had been cheated after checks with Bank Negara found that withdrawals were made from those seven bank accounts without her knowledge. She lodged a police report on December 5, feeling “unhappy” (understatement of the year) and “cheated”. The case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.
This type of scam is often called a Macau scam, as it was in this tiny region where it was believed to be first discovered. It typically involves a call from a scam artist impersonating as a court or police official, telling the victim that they had been involved in a crime, usually revolving around drugs or money laundering. They will then instruct the victim to transfer a sum of money to avoid being caught.
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