Retiree loses over $10,200 through online fraud

Retiree loses over $10,200 through online fraud
Posed photo of person holding a mobile phone and handing out money.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

JOHOR BARU- A man's hopes of expanding his advertising business were dashed after he was cheated of RM30,999 (S$10,200) via online banking transactions.

Vijayan Athimulam, 57, who retired recently from his day job as a store executive, just received an approval for a loan of RM35,000 from a foreign bank on Dec 21.

Two days later, the money was gone from his account.

"On Dec 22, when I went to the bank to check on the loan, the bank officer suggested that I open a new savings account as my old one was dormant.

"I agreed and they told me that the loan amount would be deposited into the new account within 24 hours," he told reporters during a press conference here on Thursday.

At about 8.30pm on Dec 23, Vijayan said he decided to check his bank balance via the bank's website and successfully keyed in his user identification and password on his personal laptop.

"When I tried to check the balance, the website prompted me to key in my mobile phone number for verification purposes and then another message popped requesting me to wait for the OTP (one-time password).

"Although I did feel it was a bit unusual, as they usually don't request for OTP to check balance, I went through with it, entered the OTP number and before I knew it, the whole system jammed," he said.

Vijayan said that in a panic, he immediately called the bank and was told that four transactions totalling RM30,999 had gone through to a third party account in Sarawak.

Johor MCA Public Services and Complains Bureau chief Kua Song Tuck, who organised the press conference, hoped that the bank and authorities would look into the matter and resolve it as soon as possible.

He said that since lodging the complaint, the victim had not received any solid answer from the bank, other than just a standard letter to let him know that investigations are under way.

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