Malaysian police warn of sharp rise in online vehicle scams

Cases from January to May this year are almost double those of the same period last year. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Online vehicle purchasing scams are on the rise in Malaysia, with losses amounting to millions of ringgit, police have warned.

Cases from January to May this year are almost double those of the same period last year, said the federal police's Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Commissioner Mohd Kamarudin Md Din

He said 552 cases were recorded in 2019, with losses amounting to RM3.2 million (S$1 million).

"The cases increased some 22.8 per cent last year to 678 cases, causing RM5.9 million in losses.

"Between January and May this year, a total of 461 cases have already been recorded. We discovered the losses are about RM5.4 million," he said in a statement on Friday (June 4).

Mr Mohd Kamarudin said the culprits would advertise the sale of imported vehicles on social media.

"The vehicles are purportedly from Singapore, Thailand or Langkawi and offered below market prices. Those who are interested in purchasing the vehicles were then told to transfer funds to a 'mule account' to settle various matters including road tax, vehicle grant and Customs duty.

"However, after payment is made, the victim will not receive the vehicle," he said.

He advised the public to be cautious when buying cars online.

"Check the latest used car price. Go to the company selling the vehicles and inspect the vehicles yourself and deal with valid companies or agents.

"Don't easily believe advertisements offering vehicles for prices which are too low. Some of these syndicates would claim the vehicles are cheap as they are duty-exempt.

"Keep all payment and conversation records with the seller," he said.

Commissioner Kamarudin also reminded the public to check the bank accounts used by sellers to ensure they are not "mule accounts", bank accounts blacklisted by the authorities on suspicion of being used by scammers.

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