In a recent incident reported by Sinar Harian, an elderly woman suffered a devastating loss of RM3.83 million from her hard-earned savings, falling victim to a cunning ‘phone scam’ operation posing as law enforcement officers.
According to Selangor Police Chief Datuk Hussein Omar Khan, the 70-year-old woman received a distressing phone call in November 2022 from an individual claiming to be an insurance agent. This deceitful caller asserted that an insurance claim had been filed using the victim’s name, an assertion vehemently denied by the victim.
What followed was a sinister plot to manipulate the victim’s fears. The call was surreptitiously transferred to a supposed ‘police’ officer who alleged the victim’s involvement in money laundering activities. Stricken with fear and anxiety about facing legal repercussions, the victim reluctantly complied with every directive issued by the fraudulent syndicate.
Under the coercive influence of the scammer, the victim was coerced into opening a new bank account and registering a phone number linked to online banking. Subsequently, she was instructed to provide the account number for purported investigative purposes.
Tragically, the victim was directed to transfer her entire life savings into this new account, and she was barred from accessing the account for several months. As part of the ruse, she was also instructed to delete any transaction records related to the account.
The painful realization of the scam only dawned on the victim when she discovered a mere RM79.59 remaining in her bank account. A staggering RM3.83 million, comprising her retirement funds, fixed deposits, trust accounts, and pawned gold, had been stealthily siphoned into the fraudulent account.
In response to this distressing incident, Hussein Omar Khan emphasized a crucial point for the public to heed. He stressed that legitimate phone calls from reputable companies, agencies, or government departments are not transferred from one party to another in such a manner.
This appalling deception has led to the initiation of a rigorous investigation under Section 420 of the Penal Code.
This unfortunate incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance in the face of phone scams and the necessity of verifying the authenticity of callers claiming to represent official entities. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to such schemes and should be especially cautious when receiving unsolicited calls requesting personal information or financial transactions.