RM1.3 billion lost to scammers in 2023: Deputy minister

Deputy Communications Minister said 33,235 cases reported through the NSRC 997 hotline last year were recorded from January to Dec 8. In the same period in 2022, a total of 24,187 cases was recorded.


Representational photo of a woman holding a phone. PHOTO: UNSPLASH

January 29, 2024

KULAI – More than RM1.34bil was lost to scams last year compared with RM804mil in 2022, says Teo Nie Ching.

The Deputy Communications Minister said the losses, recorded by the National Scam Response Centre (NSRC), were a considerable increase.

“The 33,235 cases reported through the NSRC 997 hotline last year were recorded from January to Dec 8.

“Fake investment scams accounted for over RM437mil,” she told reporters at the SWM Environment Sdn Bhd Chinese New Year food aid and red packet handover programme at Taman Desa Kulai here yesterday.

She said in the same period in 2022, a total of 24,187 cases was recorded.

“We believed that the amount of losses might be higher than reported as many cases were reported directly to the police,” she added.

In 2023, various types of scams were reported, including telecommunication scams with RM334mil in losses, financial fraud (RM104mil), love scams (RM41mil), ecommerce (RM383mil), fake loans (RM39mil), and fake investments (RM437mil).

Teo said investment scams recorded an increase from 3,153 cases (involving RM209mil) in 2022 to 5,178 cases last year.

She said she is sad that many lost their life savings by falling for such scams, reminding the public to only invest in financial companies registered with the Securities Commission.

Separately, Johor police chief Comm M. Kumar said a 71-year-old was among those who filed 12 police reports claiming they lost a total of RM5.07mil to a cryptocurrency investment scam.

The reports, received from Jan 3 to 26 this year, were from victims aged 46 to 71, he said.

“The victims claimed that they came across advertisements for an investment scheme called Accerx on social media, offering high returns in a short period.

“They then clicked on the link provided and were added to a WhatsApp group.

“They were told how much profit they could make,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Comm Kumar said the victims were also told to download an app and register themselves to keep track of their investments.

Through the app, the victims also made money transfers under the impression that they were investing in cryptocurrency.

Comm Kumar said according to victims, their investment account showed high profits.

However, when they wanted to cash out the earnings, they were given excuses and were asked for more payments.

“That was when the victims realised they had been scammed. The amount lost ranges from RM177,000 to RM1.78mil,” he added.

Comm Kumar said the cases were being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.

He urged the public not to fall for investment schemes offered through social media, especially if they sound too good to be true.

Those told to make online money transfers are advised to check the bank account number on the police Semak Mule app or https://semakmule.rmp.gov.my/ and to contact the NSRC at 997 if they suspect they have fallen prey to any scam.

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