Victims lost $640m to scam artists in 18,386 cases last year

KUALA LUMPUR - Elite cops are hot on the trail of criminals involved in cyber crimes including love and parcel scams as well as phishing and hacking.

Last year alone, victims nationwide lost a total of RM1.6bil (S$641million) to these scam artists in 18,386 cases, according to statistics from the Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID).

Federal CCID director Comm Datuk Syed Ismail Syed Azizan said it was constantly updating its personnel with the latest technology and knowledge to bring these white collar and cyber criminals to justice.

"The amount has gone up although the number of cases is lower last year.

"In 2011, there were 22,033 cases, with losses estimated at RM1.1bil(S$440million)," he said.

The department managed to bring 36 per cent (6,657) of the cases to court last year.

Comm Syed Ismail said love scam syndicates caused losses of about RM33.61mil from 814 cases last year.

"In 2011, losses of RM34.17mil were recorded from 876 reported cases," he said, adding that despite wide media coverage and public awareness, victims were still being duped.

In total, 6,006 people were arrested for various commercial crime cases last year.

"More than half of those arrested (3,056) was for cheating," he said, adding that love and parcel scams as well as other types of Internet-based fraud were classified as cheating.

Foreigners made up 1,036 of the total number of those arrested last year.

Comm Syed Ismail said his department constantly had to upgrade itself with the latest computer software and hardware in order to stay ahead of cyber criminals.

"We have a diverse range of skilled personnel in our investigations department qualified in accounting, law, computer crime and business management.

"We even work together with institutions of higher education and other agencies to develop courses and seminars to upgrade our men's skills," he said, adding that having personnel with superior analytical skills was key to successful investigations.

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