Ever since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, more people have been taken advantage of through “love scams” in which the scammer will often imitate someone they’re not, in order to feign a romantic relationship towards a victim, gain their affection and take advantage of their emotions by getting them to send money.
Some of the most outrageous love scams include women who were tricked by virtual lovers both locally and internationally. There were even reports of a love scam syndicate.
As if things could not get any more outrageous, Utusan reported that a 20-year-old entrepreneur in Kelantan recently lost more than RM570,000 as well as jewellery belonging to his mother, to a scammer who claimed to be a “Tengku” (a member of the royal family) on a dating app.
Kelantan Police Chief, Datuk Shafien Mamat said, “The scammer had asked the victim to prove his loyalty and love by handing over his mother’s jewellery.”
The “Tengku” had reportedly even promised to purchase the victim a pick-up truck in return for the devotion that was shown.
It was also said that the victim was forced to give up his belongings to the scammer because the suspect had threatened to leak the victim’s nude videos.
“The victim then lodged a police report on 14 September, because he felt cheated when the Tengku did not come to see him as promised and did not return his mother’s jewelry estimated to be worth RM370,000.”
The case will be investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for the crime of cheating, deceiving and dishonesty in order to get a person to hand over their property.
PDRM warns of the rise of love scams
The case even prompted The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) to issue a statement with the intent of warning other members of the public about the scam.
In their statement titled “Beware of Fraudulent ‘Love Scam’ Tactics” which was posted on PDRM’s social media pages, they warned the public about the “Tengku” love scam and urged the public to not be easily fooled by the personalities and sweet promises of people that you do not know personally.
Worryingly so, PDRM has also reported that the cases of love scams are nationally on the rise.
Director of the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (JSJK), Datuk Zainuddin Yaacob said back in May 2o21 that their data revealed a total of 1,535 love scams reported in 2019, involving losses of over RM79 million, and in 2020 a total of 1,582 similar cases were reported which involved losses totalled more than RM58 million.
If you or anyone you know have information or may have been a victim of such scams, please reach out to PDRM’s Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) Scam Response Centre hotline at 03-2610 1559 or 03-2610 1599, or head on over to your nearest police station to make a report.
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Also read: Woman Scammed Of RM11,700 After ‘Virtual Lover’ Asks Her To Pay His Quarantine Costs In M’sia