In this day and age, scammers will resort to all sorts of methods to trick unwitting victims into parting with their hard-earned money.
A Malaysian woman recently fell victim to an intricate part-time job scam through social media, losing nearly RM30,000 to the fraudsters as a result.
Clicked on ad shown on social media
Speaking to WeirdKaya, the woman who wished to stay anonymous, said she clicked on a random ad that appeared while browsing social media, prompting her to fill in her contact details.
Not long after, a girl contacted her via WhatsApp and added her to a group chat with 20 other people.
At the beginning, the woman didn’t give much attention to the group chat. But it wasn’t until last Friday night (Apr 28) when she noticed the group members sharing their success stories and screenshots of completed tasks that earned them commissions.
‘Bought’ products in hopes of commissions
After expressing her interest, an admin referred her to another person who claimed to be from a marketing company for further instructions.
The person sent the woman sent a poster with information on completing five tasks, which would involve her clicking on a Shopee link, adding the item to the cart, and sending a screenshot of the product to the admin, with the final step requiring her to make a payment to a bank account.
For her first task, the woman purchased an item worth RM60 and received her money back along with a commission (RM6) within five minutes. After she completed the first task, the scammer asked if she wanted to continue with more tasks and even promised a RM288 bonus if she completed five tasks.
After agreeing to it, the woman bought a product worth more than RM200 and once again got her money back with a 10% commission.
Loses RM30,000 to scammers
Encouraged by her success, she continued with the third task, which involved purchasing a watch worth RM999.
However, the scam started to unravel when the admin claimed the woman had made a mistake and asked her to pay the original price, not the discounted amount shown on Shopee.
Despite correcting the mistake and buying more units, the admin kept on adding new steps, resulting in soaring prices. This eventually led to the woman paying the scammers almost RM30,000 as a result.
Upon the completion of her ‘tasks’, the scammers ‘congratulated’ the woman but immediately changed their stance when she requested for a refund, claiming that there was an error and demanded that she purchase a RM15,000 computer to unfreeze her account.
However, the woman told them that she had no money left and refused to do so. When she threatened to lodge a police report, the scammers didn’t seem fazed and even offered to cooperate with the investigation if necessary.
Warns others to be careful
Sensing that something fishy was going on, the woman started researching online and discovered stories of people getting scammed in a similar fashion.
Upon realising the gravity of the situation, she immediately lodged a police report and was told that the authorities have been working to increase public awareness on this type of scams, which mushroomed since the Covid-19 lockdown.
She also told WeirdKaya that she hopes her story will cause others to be wary of such lucrative offers in the future.
Don’t trust all ads in social media so easily without doing thorough background check & research. Also, don’t bank in money easily to suspicious accounts although you may see others doing the same as they may be part of the scam syndicate.
“Also, remain calm and talk to your family & friends when you face an issue like this and never trust anyone you don’t know online,” she said.
The police advised that in the future, one can check a person’s account on this webpage: https://semakmule.rmp.gov.my/ to see how many people have checked or reported a suspicious account, helping to make informed decisions and avoid potential scams.
In light of these incidents, it is crucial for the government and relevant authorities to step up their efforts in spreading awareness about the various types of online scams. By implementing educational campaigns and making resources readily available, they can help protect citizens from falling prey to such scams.
As the saying goes, “If something’s too good to be true, it probably is!”