KUALA TERENGGANU: Students of higher learning institutions (IPTs) in the country have been identified as the main target of the “Macau Scam” syndicate to provide ‘mule accounts’ to its fraud rings.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)’s LINK and Regional Offices director Datin Arlina Ariff said the criminals lured the victims by offering them with a large amount of money as ‘payment’ for using their identity to open bank account for the third parties (criminals).

She said most of the IPT students were tricked by the tactics due to the desire to earn easy money to cover daily expenses.

“The syndicate will find university students as potential account holders to third parties. They enticed the victims with the money, knowing that students will need money before the scholarship comes in. When someone offers them RM1,000 ... if they let this person borrows their identity to open a bank account, who would refuse that?

“Perhaps the students are unaware that by doing that they have been trapped, that they may be subject to legal action for committing an offence of opening a bank account for other parties and if it is found that the account involved in the criminal activities, the account holder can be charged (in court),“ she said here today.

She said this during the question-and-answer session after the briefing on the Terengganu Financial Carnival organised by BNM and several other financial institutions to be held from April 4 to 6 at the TH Hotel and Convention Centre.

Arlina said the carnival was the best platform for financial institutions, especially BNM, to highlight financial-related crimes, apart from providing financial planning and assistance channels, not only to the group but also to every community in the east coast.

She said apart from the carnival, the relaxing with financial partners programme would also be held from March 18 to 31 in several focus areas including IPTs in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.

“Early exposure should be given to the students as they will enter the working world and it is very important for them to manage their money wisely.

“We also want to tell them not to buy a car straight away when they receive their salary, don’t follow other people’s luxury lifestyle, and how to control their spending. According to the data from the Department of Insolvency, many of those aged 35 and below have been declared bankrupt,“ she said. — Bernama