The Covid-19 pandemic has created fertile ground for get-rich-quick schemes.
The Movement Control Order (MCO), enforced in mid-March to contain the spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus, caused thousands to lose their jobs or accept pay cuts, something scammers were not slow to exploit.
Investment scams are just one kind of financial fraud.
Bank Negara Malaysia defines financial fraud as an illegal act involving complicated financial transactions. It falls under civil law and is usually conducted by business professionals with specific knowledge and with criminal purpose.
Investment scams in Malaysia
Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd (ASNB) has warned Malaysians of a scam that uses the ASNB logo in a message circulating on WhatsApp, guaranteeing a great return on investment within a short period.
In another scam, a hospital consultant in Pahang lost RM63,465 from his savings account when he shared his personal account information on a fake Bank Negara website.
The victim had been approached by men claiming to be from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Royal Malaysian Police, who instructed him to use the website as part of an investigation.
Two days later, the victim realised his money was missing from his account. He has lodged a police report.
Bank Negara has warned that it does not randomly select people to beta test any app or system. The central bank advises Malaysians not to share any personal information, including banking details, passwords, transaction authorisation code (TAC), and personal identification numbers (PIN).
The Inland Revenue Board has warned Malaysians not to fall for fake text messages from personal numbers telling them they stand to receive Bantuan Prihatin Nasional payments.
The scammers ask for banking details, promising payment within 24 hours. Genuine messages do not ask for banking details, they are simply a notification.
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has warned about a fake website, semakonline.com, purporting to facilitate withdrawals from one’s EPF Account 2. The EPF said in a statement it neither endorses nor owns the site.
The MCO, and now the Recovery MCO phase the country is in, is forcing Malaysians to spend more time at home, which means they are accessing the internet and spending more time online, thus providing ample opportunities for scammers to lure their victims in.
Investors must always be cautious and ensure sufficient knowledge about something before investing in it.
Do not fall for professional-looking ads on social media. Always consult a licensed financial planner before making any investment decision.
This article first appeared in MyPF. Follow MyPF to simplify and grow your personal finances on Facebook and Instagram.
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