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[February 09, 2014]
5 Nigerians among 15 held in Internet scam [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) KUALA LUMPUR: Police busted an Internet scam syndicate which targeted online users, mostly vulnerable women, before "robbing" them of their money.
The 15-member group headed by five Nigerians and a 42-year-old local woman, was crippled on Wednesday morning when a team from Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department raided a house in Taman Cahaya, Ampang.
The syndicate which has been operating for the last three to four years, was believed to have robbed RM7.8 million from their victims.
Apart from the six masterminds, the rest were accomplices who were mostly account holders.
Department deputy director (intelligence/operation) Senior Assistant Commissioner Datuk Jalil Abd Hassan said police were on the trail of the suspects for a month following a report lodged on Jan 21 by a 60-year-old victim who was duped into parting with RM550,000 in the scam.
"The victim, a Singaporean woman residing in Tampoi, Johor, alerted us of her recent encounter with a man she had befriended through Facebook last July.
"He convinced her that he had sent a parcel containing STG750,000 to her.
"However to collect the parcel, he said the victim had to pay a certain fee, which she agreed to. After making the payment, she received several email and phone calls from a woman, allegedly from the bank, courier company and the Customs Department, requesting more money," he said at a press conference at CCID headquarters in Bukit Perdana yesterday.
Jalil said the gullible woman trusted the Nigerian suspect, who claimed to be from Ireland, and she made 12 money transactions to account numbers given by him and the woman, before realising it was a scam.
"Initial checks on the suspects showed that the Nigerians were here on student visas but they were not attached to any institution here.
"The woman is the local mastermind and had previous record for similar offences." It is learnt that the five Nigerians had also fathered 12 children with the woman and all six of them live together.
Jalil said despite numerous police reminders, many had fallen victim to similar Internet scams.
For the whole of last year, Jalil said they recorded 1,225 cases involving RM80.3 million in losses, and arrested 542 people comprising Nigerians and local account holders.
Jalil advised the public to think twice before sending any cash or agreeing to any payment options that may appear suspicious, especially those linked to their online friends.
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