PETALING JAYA: A 77-year-old woman from the United States thought she had found true love online but ended up losing over RM1 million in an apparent romance scam.
According to The Star, the woman had met an individual claiming to be a construction tycoon on social media. After an exchange of passionate emails, he asked her to meet him in Malaysia.
By this point, she had already wired US$225,000 (RM962,000) to his account and couriered an additional US$60,000 (RM256,500), believing his claim that he could double her money if she invested in his businesses.
However, when she landed in Malaysia on Sunday, she was taken to a hotel in Puchong and robbed of her luggage as well as her travel and identification documents.
The report said she sought help at the US embassy, where officials contacted the police on her behalf.
A team was sent to an address in Setapak, where the woman said she had couriered the money.
Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department deputy director (intelligence and operations) Senior Asst Comm Mohd Sakri Arifin said two African men had come to collect the package on Monday, which was when police arrested them.
The two suspects were reportedly between 26 and 33 years of age, and had been in Malaysia on student visas since 2015.
About US$30,000 (RM128,325) was seized, along with identification documents, mobile phones, three ATM cards and a car.
Sakri told reporters that police were still looking for the remaining US$255,000 (RM1.09 million).
He added that they had managed to extract online conversations between the suspects and the victim, which showed that the men were “experts at manipulating victims”.
In April, it was reported that romance scams or parcel fraud snared close to 200 victims every month in the first quarter of the year, with losses totalling RM23.6 million.
Bukit Aman Commercial CID Department director Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said 581 such cases were recorded between January and March.