A elderly woman in Penang was left penniless after she was deceived by a conman who said she will take care of her in her old age. However, the man was part of a love scam syndicate and she had lost a total of RM3.9 million to him.
The 63-year-old widow met the scammer, who claimed to be a South Korean man working on an oil rig, on Instagram in December last year.
The victim has never met the man in person and had only communicated with him via WhatsApp and Instagram for the past 4 months.
According to the Penang Police Chief, Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain, he said the victim fell into a love affair with the conman without realising it until she receive a photo from him.
She then lodge a police report on 17 March after realising the man was a scammer.
However, at this point, she had already conducted 184 transactions totalling RM3.9 million into 18 different bank accounts between December last year and this month using her late husband’s savings that she had inherited.
“We found the lowest transfer was RM9,000 and the highest was RM50,000.”
“I believe the criminal was aware of the bank’s threshold rate (withdrawal limit) in which they withdrew in small amounts, however, the victim finally caught on when surfing the internet and finding the pictures given by the suspect to be quite suspicious. But, the amount of RM3.9 million is gone,” Shuhaily said.
The picture given by the conman to the victim was a stock photo of an oil rig worker with the face of a Korean man photoshopped onto it.
“This is the picture used, a picture of a young man, single, handsome and has a stable career but when we checked, the picture is an edited picture. It may be from another picture,” he added.
Meanwhile, Shuhaily said the police are still trying to track the suspect and believe that such modus operandi usually involved Nigerians.
“We want to advice people to be careful while using social media so as not to be conned by such syndicate,” he added.
The case is being probed under Section 429 of the Penal Code for cheating.