by K. Vatsala Devi
TakNak Scam Campaign Banner

It is long believed that in the wild, predators prey on the weak and vulnerable but this is not just limited to the jungle alone. In our current predicament, the feeble and susceptible too are targeted online by seasoned scammers and fraudsters almost on a daily basis.

Victims often suffer financial losses, as victims usually resort to dipping their hands into either their savings or retirement fund. To drive home the point further, it was reported yesterday in a local news portal that a retired nurse lost RM326,586 to an online scam syndicate, between March and April this year. Lucas, the suspect had asked for financial help from the victim, saying he was facing difficulties with a pump cylinder repair project and the victim used her savings to help Lucas.

In June this year, the ESPC portal had covered yet another news where a 31-year-old nurse lost RM94,000 to a Macau scam syndicate disguised as an Inland Revenue Board (IRB) officer last Saturday.

As reports of fraudulent activities escalate, relevant agencies and authorities are working together to spread awareness and conduct programmes to educate the society at large on how to protect themselves online.

As part of the industry efforts to fight financial fraud, Royal Malaysian Police’s Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) and Facebook Malaysia, in partnership with government agencies, industry and consumer associations, launched a nationwide #TakNakScam awareness campaign to educate the public on how to identify, check and report against highly deceptive tactics employed by scammers.

“More people than ever before are now online, however, it is not just the good guys that are online. With scam cases rising across Malaysia, we hope this campaign will help support various law enforcement and government agencies, industry and consumer associations and the financial services sector in building and ensuring a safer online ecosystem in Malaysia,” said Justin Murugaya,” Acting Country Director, Facebook Malaysia.

Cooped in the confines of their homes for almost a year due to the pandemic restrictions, many Malaysians have become victims of deception, with financial scams being most prevalent. According to PDRM, cybercrime fraud in Malaysia is on the rise at a concerning level.

Over the last five years, a total of 67,552 cyber scam cases were reported between 2017 and 20 June 2021, recording a total loss of RM2.23 billion. Of the total, e-commerce scams top the chart with 23,011 cases, followed by illegal loans 21,008 cases and investment scam, 6,273 cases.

“We are acutely aware of the rising cases of financial related scams across Malaysia, especially on the online and social media platforms and it is more important than ever for public and private sectors, NGOs and community to come together in combating scams by raising awareness, encouraging critical thinking and empowering people to take actions through streamlined and easy to understand messaging, information, tips and support systems,” said Yang Berhormat Dato’ Haji Rosol Wahid, Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

“We encourage Malaysians to step up and join us in clamping down on cybercrimes and keep our digital platforms safe at all times. If everyone keeps quiet and lets things pass, scammers will continue to exploit our community. So, people should know how and where to report various financial scams as this will improve the quality of data collected by various enforcement bodies to help tackle fraud incidents,” said Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) Victor Sanjos, Deputy Director, Cyber Crime and Multimedia Investigation, Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID).

In Malaysia, the most prevalent types of financial scams include bank and identity impersonation, illegal loans, investment scams, e-commerce scams and money mulling and ATM card rentals, which are the key focus areas of this campaign.

The #TakNakScam campaign calls for the public to remember 3 simple steps: “Spot, Check, Report”. Urging public to stay vigilant in identifying, verifying and reporting financial scamsters or any suspicious activities, person or account to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

“Similar to how the pandemic has transformed our ways of engaging, working and socialising, cybercriminals have also tweaked their modus operandi to target individuals through various means. Scammers are becoming increasingly more sophisticated with their tactics. We continuously remind consumers not to provide their personal, banking or any details to strangers who have approached them through phone calls,” said Saravanan Thambirajah, Chief Executive Officer , FOMCA.

This ongoing campaign is a joint effort between Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) Royal Malaysian Police, Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP), Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), Bursa Malaysia Berhad, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM), The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM), Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) and the Education and Research Association for Consumers, Malaysia (ERA Consumer Malaysia).

During the campaign, educational videos, as well as tips and tricks to identify, tackle and report fraudulent activities will be shared comprehensively on various online and offline channels of all partners of this campaign.

When faced with financial fraud, the public are advised to file a report to CCID. The CCID Scam Response Centre has been in operation since 15 February 2021, and is contactable between am–8pm everyday at 03-26101559 and 03-26101599.

For more information and resources of the #TakNakScam campaign, visit the one stop hub https://wethinkdigital.fb.com/my/en-my/taknakscam/

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