The Types of Scams You Currently Need to Know
There is no shortcut to anything worth having. Generally, the everyman is quick to believe and buy into ideas that promise gains in the short term. This stems from statistical findings regarding Malaysia as a country that’s most vulnerable to online scams in the region. Undoubtedly, it is a very good time to set traps like these because of the present economic downturn within the country, which results in widespread financial anxiety. Keep your money where your bank account is, and read on to find out the kinds of hoaxes and frauds out there.
The sooner you’re aware of these, the safer your savings will be!
- The property scam
Since property is a good way to invest in Malaysia, property investment scams are also on the rise. Cases of forged land titles are known to occur. A victim will have paid for purchase of land and realise the land title is under someone else’s name after bringing it to the land registry. Make sure you appoint a lawyer when you’re purchasing land or property and that everything is dealt with in black and white.
A shocking scam happened last year, whereby a couple were found to lure people into investing in bogus auctioned houses. They operated with a legally registered business and office and managed to rake in RM500,000.
- The bank impersonation scam
Notice how your phone goes off throughout the week and it’s your bank reminding you many many times to be careful with your account information? There’s a reason why this happens. The victim usually gets a call from a so-called bank officer, claiming they’ve made an exorbitant purchase. After being alarmed of possible identity theft, the person will be asked to transfer money to another account. This scam is also initiated via text message.
- The investment scam
The idea of high returns with low risk is something that has always successfully fooled the desperate and gullible. The most rampant Ponzi schemes are the Macau scam, the Mecca investment scam and the Chicago bond scam. If you want to invest, just know that anything that produces high and fast rewards is likely a scam.
For instance, former MIC treasurer-general Dato’ Ramanan found that a foreign exchange company owned by a Datuk Seri and his wife have been scamming their investors from RM2,000 up to RM55 million per investor. The company, named VenusFX promised bonuses for anyone who opened an account and used names of national leaders to obtain credibility. Bearing the weight of more than 23,000 unwitting victims on his shoulders, Datuk Ramanan Ramakrishnan wanted to deliver justice by taking the matter to the authorities. At the end of the day, the only safe investment in Malaysia is one’s Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) account.
- The internet auction scam
The introduction of online shopping has been a huge convenience for consumers everywhere but as with everything, there is a downside. On websites where customers are dealing with auctionable items, there is a possibility that the product being sold does not exist or is not what is described. Scammers will aim to collect payment before shipping the item. Even if the auction site is established, avoid new sellers and choose highly ranked ones as well as trackable means of payment.
- The online dating scam
Aside from material possessions, people are also vulnerable to being cheated through the direct manipulation of their emotional wants. In this case, the perpetrators are more meticulous and sophisticated as they work at building trust with lonely single people they find on the internet. A ’love scam’ occurs when a con artist creates fake profiles on dating sites and apps. The romance grows and so do the requests for money, from meagre to hefty. Normally, the victim will struggle to turn down subsequent demands and admit to being scammed because they have already invested in the idea of the relationship. Keep in mind that another negative that comes with a ‘love scam’ is that the feelings of the victimised party will be gravely affected.
Just a few months back, 4 love scam rings were crippled in a joint effort between Malaysian and Singaporean police. This operation had found that RM22 million were incurred in losses, from a total of only 58 cases solved.
Remember, it’s all about educating yourself. Here are a few common methods that can help protect yourself against scams, particularly those online:
- Delete suspicious emails and social media posts
- Always practice the ‘too good to be true’ way of thinking.
- Make sure to share this knowledge with family and friends to keep your loved ones well-informed. (This is particularly important for those of an older age bracket as they are the target market for scammers).
News on the recent scam brought to light by Dato’ Ramanan Ramakrishnan