Busted: Ring that stole funds by hijacking mobile SIM cards

KUALA LUMPUR - A syndicate has raked in more than RM100,000 (S$38,000) by using a new modus operandi to hijack its victims' mobile phone SIM cards.

The syndicate uses a software to hack a victim's online bank account and gain access to important financial information.

They would gather the victim's personal details such as MyKad number and then report that the SIM card has been stolen.

The syndicate members would then take receipt of the new SIM card and get the Transaction Authorisation Code (TAC) required for the online transaction before transferring the victim's money to an account belonging to another syndicate member.

Federal Commercial Crimes Investigation Department director Comm Datuk Syed Ismail Syed Azizan said this was uncovered when a 35-year-old administration officer reported the loss of RM5,000 on Aug 5.

"The victim revealed that his SIM card was not working for two days prior to the discovery of the theft.

"We believe this was when the suspects hijacked his SIM card," he told a press conference in Bukit Perdana here yesterday.

He said police investigated the case for about a month before finally tracking down a 28-year-old African man who was the mastermind of the syndicate on Tuesday in Bandar Sunway, Selangor.

"We also detained a man and a woman, both Malaysians, who were his accomplices.

"We believe the syndicate is responsible for 10 such cases resulting in RM100,200 worth of losses to the victims," he said, adding that the African man was out on bail for an Internet scam offence in 2011.

In another case, Comm Syed Ismail revealed that police had busted two syndicates preying on companies dealing with the export of consumer goods.

"The syndicates will intercept e-mail correspondences between a Malaysian firm and a foreign company before hacking the e-mail account belonging to the local firm.

"They would then deal with the foreign company by giving the syndicate's account number. After that, they would just wait and receive the money," he said.

He said eight African men had been detained in connection with the case and their syndicates operated in Damansara, Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur.