KUALA LUMPUR - A notorious SMS scam syndicate tricking victims into parting with their money by convincing them that they have won cash prizes has been busted with the arrest of 26 people.
Police believe the group, comprising a Malaysian and 25 foreigners, was responsible for swindling up to RM6.4mil (S$2.7mil) between 2006 and April this year.
The syndicate members, including two women and the mastermind, were picked up last week in a raid at a house in Taman Jen Loong and a condominium unit in Kuhara Court, Tawau.
Federal Commercial Crimes Investigations Department (CCID) chief Datuk Koh Hong Sun said police were still tracking two more members of the group, who went by the names of Wak Agos and Acoh.
"This group is actually part of a SMS scam syndicate we busted last year in Tawau," he told reporters at Bukit Perdana here yesterday.
He said police also seized four laptops, 73 handphones, 41 account logbooks, ATM and credit cards and RM6,000 during the raid.
"Each laptop is able to send out up to 1,000 SMSes a day," he said.
Comm Koh said the syndicate would send out SMSes to victims, "informing" them that they had won cash prizes from major companies such as Petronas, Shell, Power Root and Maxis.
"Once the victims responded to the SMS, the syndicate would then tell them that they could only collect the cash prizes if they deposited a certain amount of money in a certain bank account," he said.
He said police were also looking into the origin of the numerous bank accounts used by the syndicate, which were opened under Malaysian names.
Comm Koh said those detained, aged 16 to 41 years, were being investigated for cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code and Section 4(1) of the Computer Crimes Act 1997.
-The Star/Asia News Network