Scamproofed: Protect Yourself from Scam

Scams and Malaysia.

As the years go by, scams are become more sophisticated, subtle and smarter since the ones responsible often combine new technology with old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. It is unfortunate that a lot of Malaysians are falling for it, as discovered by Telenor Group in 2016. 

To help prevent future scams, we’ve provided the guidelines on how to spot these red flags, what to do to prevent falling for their schemes and actions to be taken if you become a victim. 

The Basics: What is a Scam?

A scam is a fraudulent scheme performed by a dishonest individual, group, or company in an attempt to obtain money or something else of value. How they perform the scam is usually through obtaining personal information, stealing information, or fooling the victims to willingly hand over the money. 

To prevent yourself from falling for scams, you need to first recognize and identify them. So, what does a typical scam look like?

How To Spot a Scam

  1. It’s too good to be true: If you encounter deals that are just too suspicious (high returns for very little financial commitment, for instance), then chances are that is a scam. Any hint of suspicion should be a sign you’ve been targeted as a fraud victim, so be smart and ignore those deals. 
  2. Personal information inquiry: Also known as ‘Smishing’, the moment you’ve received a text message asking for your personal information (perhaps to update it), ignore the text. Banks generally do not send any SMS from 15888 (or any other service providers) which says “Charges RM0.50 BNM, Bank memberikan 3% subsidi. http://www.mybnm.net/”. If in doubt, call the number on your card and find out if they have tried to contact you. 
  3. Random calls:  If you have received any kind of contact, but particularly a random phone call, avoid it. Scammers will insist that they are from a legitimate company and perhaps are calling you as a security measure but no legitimate caller would be desperately trying to get you to reveal your information. Hang up and check with the relevant authorities or bank via their hotline number and NOT the one provided to you by the scammers.
  4. Competitions you didn’t sign up for: Getting notifications that you won RM150,000 even though you have no memory of even entering a competition? Ignore the notification because that is probably a fraud. 
  5. Time is ticking: Another method scammers use is contacting their victims and push them into making decisions on the spot unless they want to face the “consequences”. This could be in the form of criminal charges and legal action from the “bank”. This tactic preys on the emotional aspect which makes their victim to not act and think rationally. 

Protective Measures: Ways to Prevent Being Scammed

The next step to avoiding scams is to know how to protect yourself. Here are three quick-and-easy tips to follow:

  • Avoid clicking on unsolicited links in text messages or emails. Links can download malware onto your computer and/or steal your identity so be cautious even with email that looks familiar; it is possible that they are fake.
  • Avoid suspicious contact. Ignore all the phone calls, texts, emails, knocks etc. The less contact you have with them, the smaller the chances of you getting scammed.
  • Double check your passwords. It sounds like a hassle since you can barely even remember your current passwords but it’s a crucial step to ensure maximum protection. Make sure your passwords are strong and never use them for multiple accounts. 
  • Don’t pay upfront for a promise. If they avoid direct face-to-face confrontation and insists on advanced payments for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job, then you got yourself a scammer. Be careful by blocking all possible contact with them.
  • Update your anti-malware software. Getting notifications to update your anti-malware software is irritating but there are there for a reason. Without these updates, you’ll have a bigger chance of being scammed. 
  • Double check the legitimacy. Feeling suspicious but unsure whether your instincts are right? Try Tipu.my to check whether your seller has a criminal history of scamming. Mind you, their contacts can be fake but this is still a good measure to take. You can also use Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID)’s main website to key in the seller’s bank account to check if they have been blacklisted. 

What to do if You’re a Victim? 

If you find yourself being scammed, the following steps are recommended:

  1. Stop any transaction. Get in touch with your bank to cancel the transaction as soon as possible.
  2. Keep all documentations. Keep any relevant documents such as bank-in slips, deposit slips, agreements, vouchers that you received from the company or perpetrator. This way you can use the documents to take action against the company. 
  3. File a report to the police. The police report counts as the first official indication of the alleged fraud that has been committed against you. Any further legal action you intend to undertake to get your money back is dependent on this police report. 
  4. File a report to Bank Negara. Bank Negara is on a mission to stop all fraud which is why you should report any scams to 1-300-88-5465 (1-300-88-LINK) or SMS to 15888. You can also file a report here

We hope our guide will prove useful to you and that you have a safe journey with your finances. Remember, always remain extremely careful and cautious when dealing with strangers (online, on the phone, or in person). Don’t forget to double or triple check before making any financial transactions.

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