TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Malaysian police have reportedly uncovered fraudulent cases committed through fake telephone calls that were supposedly made from financial institutions or even the police. These calls were masterminded by syndicates of Taiwanese and Chinese nationality and used local and international lines from Hong Kong, according to reports from Free Malaysia Today, an independent and bilingual news portal in Malaysia.
Asmawati Ahmad, head of corporate communications of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) said the police had been receiving many complaints of such fraudulent calls lately by victims who had fallen in the traps of these callers.
The cases has been dubbed as 'the Macau Scam' by the local authorities and categorized as telecommunications fraud. The group is said to be led by a Malaysian teenager and a Taiwanese gangster who used local numbers to scam innocent people.
The members of the 'Macau Scam' syndicate are said to include Chinese Malaysian and Taiwanese nationals operating in different locations around South East Asia.
In a recent incident a Malaysian accountant had reportedly lost RM500,000 (NT$3.56 million) to the fraud group.
The scam system operated in four ways - a lucky draw, ransom demand, spoofing by claiming to be a police/government official and spoofing by claiming to be a bank official.
Ahmad said that in a lucky draw case, the caller would claim the victim had won millions of dollars from a Hong Kong company and would be asked to supply their contact details if they wanted to claim the prize and then be asked to transfer money to certain accounts if they wanted to prevent their account from being frozen by the authorities.
With spoofing, the caller would claim to be calling from a reputed bank saying that the victim had failed to pay his credit card bills and would be redirected to another so-called bank official to avoid getting blacklisted or have his accounts frozen. The victim would then be asked to transfer money to a bank account through e-banking or cash deposit machines.
Some cases of ransom calls were also made in which the caller would claim to have abducted the victim's family members and demands for a large ransom in exchange of the release.
The Malaysian authorities have issued statements and have asked the people to be more wary of such calls and not to fall victim to these tricks. They have been asked not to panic and to simply not follow the instructions made by the caller if targeted.
Ahmad also advised the people to remain calm and not be curious to call back in the numbers they got the call from but instead get the official contact number for the company or institution involved for better clarification.
"Do not reveal your bank account number, ATM or credit card number to unknown persons. PDRM requests the cooperation of those who have been duped to lodge police reports," said Asmawati as quoted by the free malaysia today report.