KUALA LUMPUR: A 61-year-old IT software engineer lost more than RM1.2mil of her life savings to a Macau scam.
Kuala Lumpur Commercial Crime Investigation Department deputy chief Supt Tan Poh Cheok said that the scammers first contacted the victim on July 29.
“The scammers told her that they were from the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) and that she had been flagged for unpaid taxes and money laundering. Her call was also transferred to the ‘police’ where she was told that her name was listed as wanted by the authorities.
“They then instructed her to pass all financial information such as pay slips, insurance statements and information on stocks held by her. She was then told to transfer monies, including from her Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to a newly activated bank account,” she said in a statement on Tuesday (Sept 21).
Not long after that, the money was transferred into several other accounts.
“She was then told that the money was transferred for ‘freezing’ purposes. The total loss was RM1,215,600.
“A report was lodged on Sept 20 by the victim and the case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating,” she said.
DSP Tan advised all to never share private or banking details with unknown people, and to always double check matters before making any transactions.
The term “Macau scam” was coined as it is believed it originated from Macau or that the first victims came from there.
The scam often starts with a phone call from someone pretending to be an officer from a bank, government or law enforcement agency or debt collector.
The scammer will tell the potential victim that they owe money or has an unpaid fine, often with a very short window to settle the payment or face “dire consequences”.
The victims will then be asked to make payments to get them off the hook.