Banks urged to be aware of transfers made to suspected mule accounts

KUALA LUMPUR — Banking institutions have been urged to be more aware of money transfers made by individuals to company accounts suspected to be mule accounts for investment scams.

Bukit Aman Commercial Crimes Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf said they discovered that investment scams involving company accounts being used as mule accounts to be on the rise and advised banks to know their customers, and of all banking transactions as well as how transactions can be made.

“The company itself is suspicious, how can the bank successfully verify the company before the bank account is opened?

“The company name is fancy, it’s so easy to open an account till the money is channelled in and it turns into a mule account,” he said at a special media conference at KPJ Tower here today.

Ramli shared a case where that the police received a report lodged in Petaling Jaya, Selangor on May 6 by a businessman who was cheated by an online investment scam and suffered losses of RM1.73 million.

The victim, 63, had clicked a link about an share investment scheme on Facebook in March that took him to a man who gave a briefing about the scheme and was added to a Whatsapp group chat and instructed to open an investment account on the Parity Asset Management (Singapore) Pte Ltd platform.

“The victim then made eight money transfers to several company bank accounts as instructed totalling RM1.73 million for alleged gold-based share market transactions,” he said.

The victim then had doubts about the authenticity of the investment when he was instructed to make various additional payments should he wish to withdraw his profits.

In a separate case, a woman, 63, suffered losses of RM1.2 million after she claimed to have fallen victim to a forex investment scam, Ramli said, adding that the victim, who did freelance work, had clicked a forex investment class ad on Facebook in January and dealt with an individual claiming to be the forex investment head of Warburg Pincus Singapore.

“The victim then was taught about forex investment by a ‘trading guru’, and in March 2024, the victim was introduced to an app and was instructed to use it for forex transactions.

“The victim was offered up to 30 per cent profits from the total investment made. From March 19 to April 29, the victim made six money transfers totalling RM1.2 million to the company account for share transactions,” he said.

The victim saw her investments generating RM3.4 million on the app but the company gave various excuses when she wished to withdraw her profits, leading her to check with the Securities Commission and finding that the Warburg Pincus Club was listed on its investor alert list.

“This was an unfortunate situation as the victim should have checked before participating in the investment and not after the fact,” he added. — BERNAMA / pic TMR FILE