Let’s face it—its ridiculous how often scams are happening these days. Time and time again, we hear of stories of people being swindled, causing immense grief and suffering. The situation is so bad that its inspired action from both politicians and banks, but nothing is being done fast enough.
The police know this, which is why their Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) has been hard at work in raising public awareness, with ads taken out on billboards and public transport screens. Its latest effort is the release of a music video called “Be Smart Stay Alert.”
The trouble is, it seems nobody at PDRM or the CCID realised that the last thing anyone needs is a music video that’s heavy on the self-promotion. The song itself is well-meaning if a little cringeworthy, with lyrics like “tamak mencari jalan singkat membawa padah” and “helah scammer macam-macam jadi,” all set to a slightly saccharine tune.
To the songwriters’ credit, they’ve also done a good job of integrating other languages, although they could’ve also used an English proofreader for the last refrain: “let’s fight scammer [sic] together.”
But the video is less interested in showing the dangers of scams and instead more concerned with cramming gratuitous footage of police officers and higher-ups. It’s nice to see them appearing with celebrities and public figures—which include actor and MY FM DJ Jack Lim—but do we really need to see so many guns, police vehicles, handshakes and a whole “briefing” by the CCID director? And a K9 unit in an anti-scam video?
It seems that whoever signed off on the video was obsessed with showing the police doing their jobs than anything of actual importance. Watch it without audio or the subtitles and—save for the opening scene that showed a pair of victims—you’d be forgiven for thinking it was actually a Gerak Khas supercut. And really, why the show of force for a video targeted at scam victims, not the scammers themselves?
Let me make myself quite clear—I am in no way belittling the efforts of the force in bringing down scam artists. I also believe education and raising awareness is the best way to prevent unsuspecting civilians from falling prey to unscrupulous individuals and companies, especially given the amount of high-profile cases that have been happening recently.
But if that were truly the objective of this video—and not to promote the greatness of PDRM and the CCID—then those responsible for it have completely failed their intended brief.
If you’re actually looking for advice, here it is: if a money or job offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Legitimate authorities and companies won’t rush you to make payments and will never ask for details like your passwords, OTP or ATM PIN number over the phone, so never give them out.
In the event you have become a victim of a scam, dial 997 within 24 hours to reach the National Scam Response Centre and file a report. According to Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, the NSRC will alert Bank Negara Malaysia, which will then move quickly to halt the outflow of funds.
He added that since the hotline was set up in October, the centre has managed to recover RM1.3 to 1.4 million out of the RM12 million swindled. Fahmi has also previously urged the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to take quicker, sterner action against scam ads that have become rampant on social media.