8:17pm 19/11/2023
Online scams: don’t trust strangers easily

Since the National Scam Response Centre (NSCR) was set up on 12 October last year, it has received a total of 58,980 calls seeking help.

Among the calls, 13,756 are related to cheating, said the Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf.

The accumulated losses are more than RM161 million, he said.

“Through collaboration with banks and financial agencies, NSRC has successfully frozen RM30.54 million of funds, or 19% of the loss,” he said.

The NSRC has initiated 7,178 investigations under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) involving 522 accounts, and has frozen a total of RM64.75 million of funds

Members of the public are reminded of the saying “too good to be true”, and not to believe in the lucrative returns promised, says National Anti-Financial Crime Centre (NFCC) Chief Executive Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali.

“Imagine you invest RM3,000 this week and are promised a return of RM1,000 next week. Is this possible? Can you believe such deal?

“If such a great deal does exist, many would have become millionaires overnight,” he said.

Are existing laws effective in tackling the syndicate?

If the laws are 100% effective, there will be no victims now, said Mustafar Ali.

“We need to emulate other countries to amend the law and enhance penalty.

“No law is perfect. But the fact is, many are easily duped,” he said.

Mustafar Ali believes that many victims are concerned if they can recover their losses.

The government has started to study several laws to find ways for victims of cyber scams to recover their lost funds.

The National Scam Response Centre (NSRC) comprises NFCC, police, Bank Negara Malaysia, Communications and Multimedia Commission, banks, telecommunication companies and Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd working as a team to counter scams.

It is showing some results currently.

Mustafar puts it frankly that the NFCC led by him faces various challenges. Nevertheless, NFCC continues to play its role as a mediator for leaders in the relevant agencies to discuss strategies.

Scammers are everywhere. Even NSRC is not spared.

Mustafar Ali admits that scammers are deceiving in the capacity of NSRC by impersonating NSRC officials to deceive members of the public on the grounds of checking money mules. The objective is to confuse and exploit the fearful victims.

Hence, he urged members of the public to remain calm and verify with the police or call the hotline 997 whenever they encounter such a situation.

Always verify and verify again. Do not believe the caller.

It is not the standard operating procedure of NSRC to call members of the public. If one receives a call from NSRC, the person must have lodged a report with NSRC himself, he said.

Mustafar explains that the NSRC records every single call of lodging a complaint. NSRC officers will contact the complainant if there is a need.

If members of the public receive a call from NSRC, they will need to verify with the police or NSRC.

Although he has made public reminders many times, Mustafar is still reminding members of the public not to believe in strangers easily. Always remain alert and verify with the authorities. Call 997 to report to NSRC to stop the losses once cheated.

“We need to think logically. Is it possible for you to receive a call from a bank or the customs department at night? The answer is obviously no,” he said.

The centre will be making full use of the allocation provided by the government to upgrade the operation, human resources, centralised digital system, office infrastructures, equipment and the financial analysis system, he said.  

NFCC has since set up a National Financial Crime Intelligence System, a central database combining many government agencies and departments, said Mustafar Ali.

“This is the first time I mention the National Financial Crime Intelligence System to the public. This system is useful to NFCC and other enforcement agencies in terms of analysing intelligence. It is also good for enforcement agencies to combat cyber scams,” he said.

NFCC and various enforcement agencies meet on a regular basis to discuss and analyse intelligence reports. If the case involves various departments, then a cross-department raid would be carried out, he said.

“On the surface it can be a corruption case but it may involve the Inland Revenue Board, Companies Commission of Malaysia, the anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorism financing group under the police,” he explained.

All parties require to work closely and share information to combat the cases in an effective manner.




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