KUALA LUMPUR: Police here have busted one of the biggest love scam operations of the year after arresting five African nationals in six raids in Cheras and Serdang.
The raids on Thursday (June 10) also saw sixteen handphones and 20 SIM cards seized.
Speaking on the raids, Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Datuk Mohd Kamarudin Md Din said one victim lost around RM2.7mil within the span of three months.
“The real estate agent knew the scammers via Tinder, one of whom introduced themselves as an American Chinese by the name of Eric. From there she was tricked into believing their lies, claiming that some money had been confiscated at the Johor airport, ” he said
“In terms of losses, this is one of the most from a single victim. We found that the money had been transferred to shell companies instead of a personal bank account,” added Kamarudin at an online press conference on Friday (June 11).
He said that follow-up investigations are underway to determine the exact number of victims scammed by this group.
“We found that this group had been active for five years and that they entered the country via student passes. They targeted victims in and out of the country.
“They operated in two groups, with one responsible for the creation of fake accounts on social media platforms while the other would seek out mule accounts,” he said.
Profits from the scams would be distributed between the two groups with most of the commissions pocketed by those making fake accounts.
“They generally target single people and those that had just left a relationship. They would use various tactics to dupe their victims such as masquerading as Customs Department officers to convince victims of the legitimacy of these so-called ‘gifts’ that were addressed to them,” he said.
On current statistics, Comm Mohd Kamarudin said that the police had recorded 730 such love scams between Jan 1 and June 10.
Losses from those cases have been estimated to be around RM24, 462, 214.55.