Bail scams in Malaysia still duping victims

Bail scams in Malaysia still duping victims

KUALA LUMPUR - Despite repeated warnings by police, people are still falling for calls by syndicates posing as officers to solicit "bail money".

In the past two months, seven cases have been reported here with tens of thousands of ringgit being swindled from victims, said KL commercial crime investigation department (CCID) chief Asst Comm Izany Abdul Ghani.

In 2013, four people fell victim to the phone scam while five cases were reported in 2014. To date, there have only been three arrests.

"The difficulty is proving the person who made the call, as the victims do not see the culprit who targeted them. They only hear the voice."

"I believe the swindling is done by the same syndicate. We are trying to track them," he said.

Syndicate members would call up the victims, usually senior citizens. Pretending to be policemen, they would claim that the victim's child had been arrested for drug possession and would demand for money to bail them out of lock up.

In each case, the "officer" would instruct the victim to stay on the phone with him the entire time, asking the victim to withdraw money and to leave the cash in a public place.

Voice Over Internet Protocol is used to clone the number of the victim's loved ones, so that their child's name would show up on the caller ID.

The scammers would even sometimes employ "actors" to cry in the background to trick them into thinking that their loved ones were in distress.

ACP Izany said people who received such calls should remain calm and verify with their loved ones first, before making any rash decisions.

Police were also investigating a similar case involving the mother of Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong, who received a similar call claiming that he had been nabbed for drugs.

Fraudsters have also employed different versions of the modus operandi, sometimes posing as Bukit Aman or Bank Negara officers to inform victims that their bank accounts had been compromised.

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