Cybercrime causes $41.6 million in losses in Perak

IPOH - Cybercrime caused losses of RM108 million (S$41.6 million) in Perak last year. This was revealed in a seminar organised by Batu Gajah police to raise awareness on the growing threat of cybercrime.

Attended by over 200 participants, the seminar focused on the increasing prevalence of online love scams cases, which account for 70 per cent of reported cybercrime cases nationwide.

Statistics show that love scam cases have risen by almost 35 per cent in the country in the last two years, with 1,095 cases reported last year, compared with 814 cases in 2012, resulting in RM35.6 million and RM 33.6 million of losses respectively.

Bukit Aman Cyber and Multimedia Crime Investigation (CMCI) unit investigation officer Mohd Shafik Jinuin Abdullah, who conducted the seminar, explained that technological advancements had made it easier for white-collar criminals to locate their victims.

He said social networking websites allowed scammers to locate their victims while maintaining anonymity.

"These scammers lure older and more successful women under the pretense of a romantic connection, using pictures of random people they find online.

After establishing an online relationship with victims, he said, the scammers would pretend to send them gifts, and ask the victims to pay for the delivery costs.

"However, the victims never receive the gifts.

"The scammers will tell them that the items have been held up at the customs. Most victims lose more than RM30,000 before realising that they had been conned," added Shafik.

He urged the predominantly female audience to be wary of suspicious individuals that they meet online, stressing that more than 70 percent of love scam victims were women.

"Many people think that these scams will never happen to them, but this is not the case. It is very easy to fall for the false promises of these scammers.

"Therefore, the responsibility falls on all of us to be alert to such threats," he noted.

Batu Gajah police also launched the local chapter of the Amanita (Peace Lady) project, which allows local women, particularly housewives, to be the eyes and ears of the police.

Batu Gajah police chief ACP Shaharon Anuar Abdul Latif, who launched the project, said the unit would make it easier for district police to receive information on less reported crimes such as cases domestic violence. By Loghun Kumaran