KUALA LUMPUR - Not only Malaysian women but men have also fallen prey to love scams to a tune of more than RM67mil (S$21 million) this year, says Datuk Azis Jamman.
The Deputy Home Minister said out of the 1,303 love scam or parcel scam cases reported this year, 1,070 were female victims and 230 were male, with total losses of RM67,737,419.38.
"Macau scams chalked up a loss at RM94,040,451.65 from a total of 1,911 victims of which a majority, or 1,109, were female.
"Women are easy targets for these syndicates and for that reason, there is a need for more awareness on the ground.
"We realise that this issue has been going on for a long time in this country, and the ministry, especially the police, always stresses the importance to Malaysians, especially the women to understand these scams' MO (modus operandi), " he told reporters at a joint press conference in Parliament yesterday.
If people receive promotions or offers from unknown persons, they must check and verify first to ensure that they are not conned, Azis advised.
"With the advancement of technology, the issue of scams is not new, even in developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, scams are still happening.
"The ministry and the police will continue to work with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry because women are the easiest targets, " he added.
Its deputy minister Hannah Yeoh said based on the data, most scams mainly focused on women.
"The scams are still rampant and they will target women who are lonely. And because it involves friendships and relationships, they feel ashamed to even lodge a police report and suffer in silence for fear family members will judge them, " said Yeoh.
The MO for a Macau scam is that the scammer would impersonate someone with authority such as a policeman or a bank officer over the phone and convince the victim that they need to pay money to avoid trouble.
For love scams or parcel scams, the scammer would strike up a friendship or relationship with the victim online and then convinces them to send money or entice the victim with a parcel delivery.
Yeoh said it was crucial for those who were being contacted by suspected scammers to not panic and to verify information first instead of immediately making transactions.
She said people should also avoid giving their contact number, bank details and IC number to strangers, especially those calling from unknown numbers.
Based on the 2019 statistics of five currently active syndicated commercial crime cases, investment scams took up the number one spot, recording the biggest loss at RM200,781,043.90.
Men were the biggest victims of investment scams, making up 577 victims out of a total of 842.
In second place are Macau scams while love scams or parcel scams came third, followed by non-existent loans which recorded a total loss of RM38,894,980.87 from a total of 4,151 victims.
Of these, 2,261 were male victims and 1,889 were female victims.
The fifth top scam is online purchase with 2,947 victims scammed of RM24,691,509.21. Of these, 1,906 were male and 1,040 were female victims.