White collar crimes in Malaysia result in $305m losses since 2008

White collar crimes in Malaysia result in $305m losses since 2008

KUALA LUMPUR - White collar-crimes are proof that one does not need guns to rob people of millions of ringgit.

"Anyone can commit economic crimes. Most perpetrators have profiles resembling honest people," said Federal Comm­ercial Crime Head of Banking Fraud Investigation Unit Supt Harjinder Kaur yesterday.

With losses projected at RM789 million (S$305.11 million) since 2008, perpetrators of banking fraud were not to be trifled with, she said.

"The three most rampant banking frauds involve identity theft, intercepted cheques and alterations rendered to loans documents.

"This year alone, we received 415 reports of banking fraud," she said, adding that total losses amounted to RM390 million this year.

Supt Harjinder said what was more alarming was that banking fraud constituted only 10 per cent to 12 per cent of the overall loss rendered by the department.

While females constituted 60 per cent of the overall number of fraud perpetatrors, she said men were more likely to launder money in large numbers.

"Seventy per cent of the losses were perpetrated by male criminals. However, we must also take into consideration unreported frauds.

"In some cases, bank management may conduct internal investigations against fraudulent employees and not report the crimes," said Supt Harjinder.

She added that this might also be intentionally done to protect the image of these financial institutions. "Exposing the frauds may cause victimised patrons to lose confidence in their financial institutions," she said.

While banking fraud cases have become increasingly sophisticated and globalised, there are still ways in which the public can reduce the likelihood of being cheated.

"We advise the public to read the 'Police Alert' provided in all banks to prevent incidents of identity thefts," said Supt Harjinder.

Other than that, customers must also deal with "flesh and blood" bankers that can be identified.

"People should never submit personal details to third parties to prevent information from being misused," Supt Harjinder said.

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