Scammers looted about RM10 million within 6 months from about 600 gullible shoppers in just Kuala Lumpur alone, says Sentul police chief Beh Eng Lai.
Speaking to FMT, Beh revealed that for the first 6 months of last year, there were 494 cases involving RM3.65 million in losses reported within the city, but it has increased to 613 cases for the same period this year where RM10.64 million was stolen.
He added that the police noticed this jump in cases from the same period last year coincided with the unfettered freedom for the people to celebrate religious and other festivals soon after the lifting of all Covid-19 movement restrictions.
“When there were festivities like Chinese New Year and Hari Raya, the cases spiked,” he said.
Beh also said that many of these cases involved fake advertisements on social media which baited the buyers.
“They would ask you to install certain applications to overwrite your SMS function and direct you to certain phishing websites to enter your banking details.”
“And your money in the bank is gone,” he explained.
On the other hand, the police also recorded a growing number of cases linked to the TikTok platform.
“The scammers provide a link in the postings which lead the gullible social media users to them,” he said.
Beh did not disclose the number of scam cases involving each social media platform but he said most of the victims reported that they had attempted to buy gadgets, especially handphones.
Of the 613 cases in Kuala Lumpur this year, 386 were women victims. In the same period last year, 381 out of the 494 cases were men.
Beh then advised the public to be sceptical when it comes to shopping online. “You should check the price of the same item elsewhere on the Internet. If the price is ridiculously low, you should be cautious,” he said.