Scammers target lonely retirees

HOME alone retirees easy prey for scammers?

According to a report in China Press today, lonely senior citizens with fat savings accounts have become the latest targets of Macau scam syndicates.

In the latest reported case in Selangor, a retired businesswoman in her 70s lost RM1.8 million to one such syndicate.

Selangor Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief ACP Nor Azman disclosed that in the first five months of this year alone, the department received reports on 279 Macau scam cases involving a total of RM13,672,384, with Chinese accounting for 70% of the victims.

He said these scammers masqueraded as enforcement officers, telling their victims over the phone that their children had committed criminal offences.

Unable to contact their children because their lines were jammed by these scammers, the victims believed what they have been told.

Speaking in an interview with Chinese press at the Selangor police headquarters in Shah Alam on Monday, Nor Azman said the state police received a total of 483 Macau scam reports involving RM30,929,003 last year.

He said in the latest case last month, the victim received a call purportedly from the police, telling her that her son was involved in a cheating case.

The bogus police officer asked for money in return for letting her son go free without action taken, he said.

"The scammers threatened the victim against talking to anybody about the case lest her son would be arrested immediately.

"The panicky retired businesswoman credited a total RM1.8 million into bank accounts given by the scammers via several transactions before she realised that it was a scam," said Nor Azman.

He said police believed the cases reported were just the tip of the iceberg as many victims do not go to the police, to "save face".

He said police will hold a series of dialogues with the public to make them aware of the modus operandi of Macau scammers and put a stop to such scams.