Call fraud almost triples to RM162.6m

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Telecommunications fraud in the country has reached a worrying rate as the amount to date this year almost tripled to RM162.6 million, compared to the RM65.5 million that was reported for the whole of last year.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said the latest statistics by the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) showed that call fraud cases rose to 3,816 as of Oct 3, 2018, against 2,912 cases recorded a year ago.

“Cyber crimes pose a serious threat to the people as these scams usually result in the victims being cheated of their hard-earned money, sometimes to the tune of hundreds of thousands of ringgit,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Overall, the data also revealed that cyber crimes — including telecommunications fraud, e-financial fraud (non-existent loans), 419 scam (African scams) and e-commerce scams — have registered 8,313 cases to date, nearing the 10,203 cases recorded in 2017 with three more months towards the year-end.

The total amount involved in cyber crime cases to date also soared 62.6% higher to RM299.6 million against RM184.2 million last year.

E-financial fraud, African scams and e-commerce scams have involved RM37.3 million, RM80.1 million and RM19.6 million respectively as of Oct 3.   

Gobind said the ministry, through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), had discussed with the CCID to intensify efforts in fighting these cyber crimes.

He said one of the proposals is to form a task force with representatives from the MCMC, financial institutions and telecommunications companies (telcos) that can work with the CCID to expedite information-sharing and provide quick response to the public in the event a scam is detected.

Gobind added that telcos should also upgrade their systems so that they can assist the police in tracking down the Internet protocol addresses used by the scammers or cyber criminals, as requested by CCID director Datuk Seri Amar Singh Ishar Singh.

At present, Gobind said telcos are updating their prepaid subscriber database to ensure that all active mobile numbers are verified and contain the most up-to-date information of the individuals, failing which the numbers would be terminated.

He said the exercise has begun since March in order to weed out dubious prepaid subscribers or phantom numbers, where the information will be cross-checked with the National Registration Department.