Caution: Stay calm when your ‘bank’ calls

TWO retired teachers lost their life savings totalling RM2.78 million after falling victim to the Macau scam recently.

The two women, both aged 61, are from Pontian, Johor, according to a report in China Press today, which did not name them.

It was reported that in the first case, the retiree received a call purportedly from a bank claiming that she owed them several thousand ringgit.

She hung up after telling the caller that she did not owe any money.

Minutes later, a man claiming to be from the police department told her she was being investigated for money laundering.

She was told that if she wanted to settle the matter, she had to open an account each in five banks and transfer all her money to these new accounts to pre-empt any attempt by the central bank to freeze her present account on discovering that she had a big sum of money kept in the account.

That was when she became panicky and did what she was told, including providing the scammer with details of her new accounts and OTP (one time pin for online transaction).

Later, when she regained her composure and checked her bank accounts, she was shocked to find that all her money, which totalled RM2.3 million, had been withdrawn.

The scammers cheated the second victim of RM480,000 in the same way.

Both victims have lodged police reports.

Pontian OCPD Supt Zakaria Abdul Rahman confirmed the two cases and said police were investigating them under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.

He urged members of the public who received such calls to stay calm and contact the police or their banks to verify.