Over 100 people lose RM4.6m to online rewards scam

More than 100 individuals have lost over RM4.6 million since 2018 after being duped into joining an online rewards scheme that offered 50 per cent discounts through a dubious company that used names of famous people, royalty, former government officers, and religious leaders to attract their victims.

Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation (MHO) secretary-general Datuk Hishamuddin Hashim said so far, about 100 victims have lodged police reports and his team believes there are many more who have fallen victim and thus it will involve bigger losses.

He said apart from the well-known people, the company also offered vouchers or online rewards involving various recognised brands among them Petronas and Shell.

“This syndicate (company) offers people a type of investment, where it offers them rewards or vouchers that give them savings of up to 50 per cent. Most of the vendors or merchants who are with this company represent those with a good reputation.

“What happens is that many who participate in this scheme buy these vouchers and think they will get subsidies as well as discounts with these purchases. Some managed to get a petrol subsidy and paid only RM45 for a full tank of petrol that would normally cost RM90. There are also those who bought milk for their children with the 50 per cent savings,” he said in a press conference in front of the Sentul district police headquarters, here today.

He said this caused many consumers to believe in the scheme and to buy vouchers totalling more than RM400,000.

“However, after many made their purchases, in April last year, the company suddenly closed their application without any reason. All vouchers in their ‘wallet’ disappeared,” he said.

He also said that through the information he obtained, the names of these famous individuals were believed to have been used by this syndicate in addition to claiming in a letter that stated a reputed Japanese bank, MUFG Bank, would invest in the company.

“However, shortly after that, MUFG Bank issued a statement that the letter was fake. This was also compounded by a statement by a former (Malaysian) minister who claimed that this company and investments were legal,” he added.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Community Crime Concern Organisation (MCCC) president Tan Sri Musa Hassan said this is a scam and asked the Royal Malaysia Police to investigate as well as take action against those involved.

One of the victims who wanted to be known as Rafiq from Marang, Terengganu said that he was attracted to the online rewards due to the discounts given as well as due to the assurance given by a preacher.

“We were confident in this e-reward scheme without hesitation as many famous people are in this company. I used it (scheme) a lot to buy household items and tools for home construction because I can save money. But I lost about RM70,000 since joining (the company) at the end of 2021,” he added. — BERNAMA