The parliament was told today (17 August 2020) that scams involving online sales of face masks during this Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in losses amounting to RM18 million.
Ever since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses have gone online for more opportunities. The pandemic has also altered consumers’ behaviour as well as the way we live our lives, in one way or another.
To adapt to the new normal, digitalisation has helped many businesses and media companies, but it has also caused a surge of online scams, especially on essentials amidst the pandemic such as face masks.
The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said, admitted that the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) faced some barriers in combating online crimes.
One of these challenges is the inability to determine the identity of the caller or scammer. The scammers would use another person’s telephone number or account to call, and the scammers also operated from other countries.
The government has also set up a special task force team comprising of the PDRM, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, and financial institutions in the country to tackle the issue, added Ismail.
According to BERNAMA, Ismail was speaking during the Dewan Rakyat sitting today when replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) who asked about the constraints faced by the PDRM in addressing online scams.
Ismail said there were five types of syndicates involved in financial scam cases during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period. In this case, the highest number of identified cases (2,500) involved e-commerce.
From the start of the MCO (18 March 2020) until 4 August 2020, losses totaled to 17 million. “For non-existent loans, there were 1,582 cases amounting to RM18 million; ‘Macau Scam’ with 1001 cases totaling RM50 million; ‘Love Scam’ with 481 cases involving RM18 million; and SMS scams with 91 cases with losses of RM800,000,” he said.
When asked what was the government’s guarantee for the personal information which was provided manually at the premises by Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PH-Pokok Sena), Ismail assured that action would be taken against any transgressions involving personal data.
All information on the MySejahtera application is also protected under the Personal Data Protection Act, he added.
In these tough times, we should be extra careful while purchasing online to avoid getting scammed.
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