Thursday, 21 September 2023

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Sabah woman falls prey to ‘Korean oppa’ love scam, loses USD 551,000

SABAH, MALAYSIA — A woman in Sabah fell victim to a ‘Love Scam’ syndicate, resulting in a devastating loss of RM 2.5 million (approximately USD 551,250) after establishing a relationship with a supposed ‘Korean Oppa’ on Instagram on 2 July.

The victim, a 46-year-old woman working as an assistant manager in a private company, was targeted by the fraudsters who claimed to be a young man from Korea.

Within two weeks of their introduction, the victim had developed complete trust in the scammer, as revealed by Sabah’s Police Commissioner, Datuk Jauteh Dikun, during a press conference held at the Penampang District Police Headquarters (IPD) on Thursday (13 Jul).

”Korean Oppa’ claims he works in an oil and gas company

Jauteh said the suspect then informed her that his oil and gas company was facing problems and asked the complainant to transfer money for the company’s purchases.

He said the suspect also claimed that the victim’s money would be refunded once the issue was resolved.

“Due to her excessive trust in the suspect, the victim agreed and made payments in instalments, totaling 41 times over a period of two weeks.

“During that period, the victim transferred RM2.5 million to 24 different accounts,” he said.

He added that the victim only realised she had been deceived when her money was not returned and she was asked to make additional payments, prompting her to file a police report for further action on 12 July.

The police are currently conducting an in-depth investigation, focusing on Section 420 of the Penal Code, to identify the account owners involved in the fraudulent transactions.

Surprisingly, it was discovered that all the account owners are locals, with many unaware that their accounts were being misused for criminal activities.

“These account owners were found to have provided their accounts to third parties solely to receive payment due to financial difficulties,” he said.

Malaysia grapples with alarming surge in love scam cases

In a separate revelation made by Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf, the Director of the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) of Bukit Aman, it was disclosed that Malaysia has witnessed a staggering number of Love Scam cases.

From 2018 until June this year, a total of 7,548 cases have been recorded, resulting in losses exceeding RM 382 million (approximately USD 84 million).

Out of the reported victims, approximately 82 percent, or 6,251 are women, while the remaining 1,297 cases involve male victims.

However, it is believed that the actual numbers could be higher, as many cases go unreported. The victims of these love scams predominantly consist of single mothers and unmarried individuals.

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