Part 1: Beware these scams in Malaysia

Always check before you part with your money. (rawpixel.com pic)

Your parents are right. No matter how much you want to deny it, there are bad people in this world. People who don’t think twice about taking your money through illegal and unethical means.

They do it easily, without guilt or remorse. Here is a list of the more common scams:

1. Macau scam (telecommunication or fake call scam)

This type of scam is so prevalent, the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) have issued alerts to warn the public. Macau scams have four main modus operandi, always via a phone call or text:

a) Lucky draw or winning entries

Once you pick up the phone, a computerised message will say that you have won money from fill-in-the-blank bank. You may not even have an account with that bank.

The number that appears on your screen comes from the legitimate bank customer service. Scammers do this by using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) devices.

b) Impersonating kidnappers

This scam is designed to scare parents and grandparents into taking fast action and its understandable how you would fall for it. Hearing that your loved one is in danger is enough incentive for many to immediately make the money transfer.

c) Impersonating a police officer or a government official

You receive a call from an actual police station number. The “officer” on the line says your credit card has been cloned and misused, or that you have an arrest warrant pending . Insist on hanging up and calling him back at the same number he called you.

When you do, chances are very high that a real police officer on the other line will tell you that they have been receiving the same feedback from the public about this scam.

d) Impersonating a Bank Negara official or a commercial bank

You will receive an SMS normally from 68833 that says:

“RM0.00 XYZ BANK: MYRXXXXX was charged to your card number ending 5318 at XYZ MERCHANT on XYZ DATE. Please call 1800817866 for any queries”

You may not have a credit card ending with that number, or even an account with that bank. They want you to panic and call the number listed in the SMS. The scammer will then try to get your money.

Download and use the TrueCaller mobile app to avoid this scam.

e) Scam using postage methods

You will receive a recorded message stating that you have an uncollected parcel from Poslaju. When you call the number given, the person will claim to be from Poslaju hub Kuala Lumpur. They will ask for your name and MyKad number for verification.

After ‘checking’, they will say that you have a registered letter from the income tax department (LHDN) with XYZ number reference in their custody.

They will say that this letter is now at the Poslaju KL hub and needs to be claimed within two hours, as the letter is about unpaid tax due to owning shares.

They will try to make you nervous, saying that you sound surprised and ask why you did not know about this outstanding tax.

Scammers always have a script to follow. The best way to counter them is by asking a lot of questions and insist on hanging up and calling them back.

The rule of thumb is to never transfer any money or divulge your bank card details especially your Personal Identification Number (PIN) over the phone no matter how much they threaten you.

2. PIDM protection services scam

This scam is horrible because the scammers target people who are already financially desperate.

Modus operandi – desperation forces some people to approach money lenders. They are told to make payment to ‘activate’ Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM) protection before they can receive the loan money.

They don’t get any money after making payment and this may potentially put them in a worse financial situation

For the record, PIDM’s protection for deposits, takaful and insurance benefits (up to a certain amount) is free. There is no payment required.

Some banking products are not under PIDM’s protection. For example, loan products are not protected by PIDM so watch out if anybody asks you to pay a fee for PIDM in order to take out a loan.

This article first appeared in ringgitohringgit.com

Suraya is a corporate writer-for-hire and the blogger behind personal finance website Ringgit Oh Ringgit. She is more of a minimalist, less of a consumerist, a konon DIY enthusiast, a let’s-support-small-businesses-over-big-corporations kinda girl. Prior to her current role, she worked in various capacities within the non-profit industry.