Alarming number of Malaysians have fallen victim to cyber scams

26 Apr 2016 / 22:52 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Online business entrepreneurs who believe cyber con artists merely prey on shoppers and think they are invulnerable to scams, should think again.
Police have discovered that cyber scammers are re-using several old tricks they successfully applied in the Macau and parcel scams to dupe unsuspecting online traders.
In February, an online seller lost not only a portable computer which he put up for sale in a popular trading website but ended up poorer by over RM3,000 - all because he thought his "buyer" had mistakenly "paid" him in US dollars instead of Malaysian ringgit and he could make a four-fold profit.
Citing the case which was recently reported, the federal police commercial crimes investigations department (CCID) said the seller had advertised a laptop for sale at RM1,200 and days later he received a call from a foreign number.
The "buyer" said he was keen on buying the set and would bear the high shipping costs to a foreign country.
The seller agreed that he will ship the item only after payment is made and the scammer told him to wait for a call from his "banker".
The victim received a call the next day supposedly from an officer of a well-known foreign bank who told him that the "buyer" had deposited US$2,000 but had instructed him to pay the seller only US$1,200.
The "bank officer" told the victim that due to some bank policy, the payment could only be wired to him in the full sum of US$2,000 but the bank will only do so if the seller refunds the balance of US$800 and showed proof of having shipped the computer.
Thinking he had made a fat profit by getting paid four times more than the price he wanted, the seller promptly made the refund to a local account given by the "bank officer" and shipped the computer to an overseas address.
He only realised he had been fleeced when days later, after repeatedly checking and finding no payment made to his bank account, he found both his "buyer" and the "bank officer" had gone silent.
The victim lodged a police report.
Police said cyber scammers have applied the ruse on dozens of other sellers by changing the "storyline" but the pattern of the con job was the same.
The CCID advised that online traders should be on alert when receiving telephone calls from foreign numbers especially ones that began with 234 .... which originates from Nigeria where online scammers have amassed billions in cash over the years in a variety of scams.
CCID deputy director (Cyber Crimes & Multimedia Investigation) SAC Kamaruddin Md Din warned online sellers to be cautious when they receive calls from foreign buyers who later indicate they intend to discuss closing a purchase by email.
"This pattern should put sellers on alert as it is a warning that a scammer is initiating his game. Subsequently, receiving calls from individuals who claim to be officials of foreign banks is another sign. Never ship out merchandise or make payment until you see the cash in your bank account." he advised.
Since 2013, online scam cases and losses involving e-commerce have risen steeply and the uptrend is expected to continue if online traders have a poor sense of awareness of the risks in cyberspace trading.
Police said in 2013, 1,891 cases were reported with losses amounting to RM6.2 million while the following year police received 2,018 cases where RM7.4 million was lost.
Last year, cases doubled to 4,087 with losses rising three fold to almost RM22 million.

thesundaily_my Sentifi Top 10 talked about stocks