It is indeed alarming to note that the recent number of scam cases in Malaysia reaches a new height compared to previous years during the Covid-19 pandemic.
More so when we heard millions of losses suffered by the victims when everyone’s livelihood is taking its toll during this difficult time.
While there is nothing legalistic in the article, the information shared here serves as a reminder to many consumers and even online businesses to stay alert of scams.
As the reality has it, the issue of scams require the combined effort of every sector, both public and private, to overcome.
Some common tactics to look out for
The most commonly heard Macau scam is when scammer use text messages impersonating other organizations to trick people into giving away their personal and financial information or money.
These scam texts often claim to be from government departments, banks or other trusted organizations, offering payments related to the coronavirus outbreak or claiming to be issuing fines.
Another common tactic is called ‘spoofing’ is when scammer made up a message appear in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages from that government departments, banks or organisation.
Consumers are reminded that criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police.
Commonality of all scams
Scammers usually exploit the situation, including Covid-19 to prey on anxiety and fear of consumers, especially those who may be vulnerable. And, scammers are ever sophisticated in their tactics when come to this.
This is the reasons why despite many people may already know the dos and don’ts of financial fraud and scams. But in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget them.
There are also some ‘Good cause’ scams where scammers seek investment for good causes such as the production of sanitiser, personal protection equipment (PPE) or new drugs to treat the coronavirus. They use the promise of high returns to entice you.
How to protect yourself
- The rule of thumb is always taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information.
- Check who you are dealing with, for example a text message with foreign country code should immediately put you on guard.
- Reject offers that come out of the blue.
- Beware of adverts on social media channels, especially those paid for/sponsored advertisements online.
- Don’t click links or open emails from senders you don’t already know.
- Avoid being rushed or pressured into making a decision. It’s ok to reject, refuse, or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
- If a firm calls you unexpectedly, use the contact details to check whom you’re dealing with, are they the genuine firm.
- Never give out personal details (bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details).
Last and foremost
In an unfortunate event that you have fallen for a scam, other than report it immediately to the police, you may also contact your bank immediately and confide to someone if there a possibility of recovering the money parted away.
About the Author:
This article is written by Chia Swee Yik, Partner of this Firm who has practical experience on civil litigation in this area of the law.