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Online and Offline Scams in Malaysia to Beware Of – Share This with Your Family and Friends!

With rapid technological advancements in recent years, scammers are becoming more creative. Many individuals fall prey to these scams, which lead to significant financial losses alongside emotional distress. Especially vulnerable are those with low technological literacy.

According to a New Straits Times article, there were 20,701 scam cases reported with losses amounting to RM560.8 million in 2021 alone and the numbers keep rising with each passing year.

In this article, our team explores the 5 most common online and offline scams in Malaysia to beware of. Make sure to share this with your family and friends!

1. Macau Scam

Macau Scams are when an individual receives calls from a scammer, impersonating banks or government officials. The scammer tries to trick the victim into disclosing their personal bank details or to get the victim to transfer money to a third-party bank account.

Some common Macau Scam tricks include:

  • Impersonating a law enforcement officer, claiming that you have committed a crime
  • Pretending to represent a bank and claiming unauthorised use of your credit/debit card
  • Calls claiming that you have won a cash prize or a lottery
  • Calls from LHDN claiming you have committed tax fraud

2. Mobile Application Scams

This is when victims are tricked into downloading a suspicious mobile application from third parties. The mobile app gives scammers access to your phone, enabling them to retrieve transaction alerts and/or OTP numbers. Since they have access to your phone, they can quickly read and delete these SMS alerts.

Things to look out for:

  • Texts with hyperlinks asking you to download an application onto your mobile phone (Note: Banks no longer send texts with hyperlinks!)
  • When an application redirects you to a suspicious site

3. Phishing Scams

Phishing scams include scammers’ attempts to trick victims into revealing their credentials or online banking login details. This can be done by hacking a public Wi-Fi network, sending links via SMS or Email, or even by setting up fake websites that look exactly like the authentic ones. If you key in your banking details on these fake websites, scammers can easily steal your information.

Here are things you should look out for:

  • Suspicious website hyperlinks, although the website looks real and authentic
  • Unsolicited SMS or Emails with clickable hyperlinks
  • Unusual weblinks (For example, 0 to replace an “o”, or @ to replace an “a”)

4. Mule Account Scams

A Mule Account Scam is when the victim’s bank account is used by the scammer (usually disguised as your “friend”) to collect or transfer funds. These funds are usually either stolen or laundered money. To entice the victim, the scammer usually offers an easy monthly income, or a fee for every account you open. Don’t fall for this. If you get caught by the bank, your account will be shut down and you may get charged with facilitating criminal activities.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • An offer (from an unknown party or family/friends) to “rent” your bank account in return for a fee
  • Job offers that are too good to be true, which require you to hand over your ATM card or online banking details
  • Unlicensed money lenders requesting your ATM card or banking details as collateral

5. Investment Scams

Investment scams are also one of the most common in Malaysia. Scammers involved in this will usually persuade victims to “invest” large amounts of money and promise immediate high returns. Once the victim falls for the scam and makes the transfer, they are then asked again to invest even more money.

Here’s what you should look out for:

  • If the investment opportunity is too good to be true, it probably is
  • You are offered high returns almost immediately
  • It does not have a license under the Securities Commission

Recap of the top 5 most common scams in Malaysia:

  1. Macau Scams
  2. Mobile Application Scams
  3. Phishing Scams
  4. Mule Account Scams
  5. Investment Scams

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