Scammers bleed RM20,000 from man’s savings account in six mins despite call to 997 hotline

Chong (left) and Chai at a press conference today (Jan 9, 2023).

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KUCHING, Jan 9: Attempts to block online fund transfers by scammers proved futile as a man found himself losing RM20,000 from his bank account in six minutes.

Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen said on Dec 15, 2022, the victim Chai Mui Tchun saw a car rental advertisement on Facebook.

Chai contacted the advertiser and was instructed to click on a certain link to make a deposit. When his payment failed to get through, he suspected something was wrong and he subsequently contacted a friend working with the bank.

He was told to contact the bank’s general line which he did. The bank’s officer asked him to call the National Scam Response Centre (NSRC) hotline at 997, which he did immediately.

“Despite reacting within minutes on that day and calling 997 immediately, two weeks later, via an email dated Dec 28, 2022, he was informed by the bank that on Dec 15, 2022, between 4.47 pm to 4.53 pm, there were six transfers of fund from his savings account to one Mr Phoon’s account with Ambank and UOB,” said Chong in a statement today.

Chong listed the amounts involved and the time of transactions as follows:

  • RM3,785 to Phoon’s Ambank account at 4:47 p.m.
  • RM3,632 to Phoon’s Ambank account at 4:48 p.m.
  • RM3,583 to Phoon’s Ambank account at 4:49 p.m.
  • RM3,450 to Phoon’s UOB’s account at 4:51 p.m.
  • RM3,850 to Phoon’s UOB’s account at 4:52 p.m.
  • RM1,700 to Phoon’s UOB’s account at 4:53 p.m.

“The bank also told him his RM20,000 loss could not be recovered. In Mr Chai’s case, he did not receive any OTP or PACs for all the six transactions,” Chong added.

He stressed that the victim reacted almost immediately upon suspecting the scam by reporting to the bank and calling 997 but yet, the victim still failed to stop the transactions and suffered a loss of RM20,000.

Chong who is also Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP)chief said while consumers must be vigilant and careful while carrying out online purchases, banks must also improve on their Internet banking security.

“From the response given by the bank, it is obvious that the bank is aware of the modus operandi and way in which the scammers could circumvent the security to ‘steal’ their customers’ money from their bank accounts.  Yet, the bank has failed to improved its security system to prevent such theft.

“The Ministry of Finance and Bank Negara Malaysia cannot allow such scams to continue occurring with the banks pushing off their responsibilities,” said Chong.

He said between the banks and the individual depositors, banks are in a much stronger position to improve their Internet banking security system and the capability to absorb the loss.

“Therefore, it is only when banks are made to bear such losses that these scam cases will be reduced.

“We will continue to pressure the authority to act accordingly and the police to act on the matter.

“In this case, the recipient can be identified easily as he has two accounts—one with AmBank and one with UOB. No reason why the person is not arrested and brought to book,” said Chong. — DayakDaily