Friday, 26 August 2011

Mother of all scams - Many fall for Bukit Aman scam, Syndicates clone caller IDs of enforcement agencies





Many fall for Bukit Aman scam

By AUSTIN CAMOENS austin@thestar.com.my 24/8/11

PETALING JAYA: We have heard of the Nigerian 419 scam, the AL-Globo lottery scam, but the Bukit Aman scam must surely be the mother of all scams.
Part of Bukit Aman's police facilities, as see...Image via Wikipedia

A syndicate posing as police officers from Bukit Aman has been ripping off unsuspecting victims of hundreds of thousands of ringgit by claiming that they are being investigated for alleged money laundering.

Their latest victim is an elderly woman who lost about RM260,000.

Relating the ordeal, the woman who only wanted to be known as Margeret, in her 60s, said she received a phone call on Aug 18 from a man claiming to be a police inspector from Bukit Aman.

She said the “officer” told her that she was being investigated by the Hong Kong police over dealings with two drug dealers there.

“The officer told me that if I did not cooperate fully with police investigations, I would be extradited to Hong Kong to face charges for the offence,” she told The Star yesterday.

Margeret said the officer then passed to her the number of a senior police investigator in Hong Kong to verify the matter.

“I called the number given and a man claiming to be a police officer warned me that I was being investigated together with 28 other people for alleged dealings with drug dealers there,” she said, adding that the man told her to cooperate fully with the police here.

She said she then received another call from a senior police inspector in Bukit Aman who asked her to transfer all her money into an account provided by them.

“They said this was to help them verify that the funds were not linked to drug dealers in Hong Kong,” she said, adding that she transferred a total of RM260,000 from five separate banks to the police here.

Margeret said the officer told her to transfer any additional funds she had to facilitate police investigations failing which she would be arrested.

“I told them that I had an additional RM128,000 in a fixed deposit account in Temerloh, but I could not withdraw the money until the next day.”

Fearing something was amiss, she lodged a police report with the Mentakab police.

Federal Commercial Crimes Investigations Department (CCID) deputy director Deputy Comm Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa said police were investigating the case and appealed to the public to contact Bukit Aman to verify the calls.


 Syndicates clone caller IDs of enforcement agencies

By AUSTIN CAMOENS and RASHITA A. HAMID newsdesk@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: Syndicates are using special technology to dupe unsuspecting victims into believing they are being called by real law enforcement agencies.

The Voiceover Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology is used to replicate phone numbers of the police, Bank Negara and other government agencies.

“The victims do not know they are being duped as the caller ID is identical to the real number of the relevant authority,” Federal head of CyberSecurity and Multimedia Investigation Division Asst Comm Mohd Kamaruddin Md Din told The Star, referring to reports on the Bukit Aman scam.

VoIP is a family of technologies, communication protocols and transmission techniques for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet.

The modus operandi of the syndicate involved in the Bukit Aman scam was to tell victims that they were being investigated by Hong Kong police for money-laundering activities.

“The syndicate then tells the victims that they must transfer all their savings into an account which is provided by the syndicate in order to verify that the funds are not linked to any cases,” ACP Kamaruddin said, adding that victims were told the money would be transferred back to their accounts once Bank Negara had completed investigations.

He said there had been 76 such cases reported nationwide amounting to losses of more than RM3.05mil between January and June this year.

ACP Kamaruddin advised the public to immediately contact the relevant authorities if they received such calls.

He said there had been a total of 367 cases involving bogus police, bank and government officials between January and June this year, resulting in losses of more than RM10mil.

“Last year, there was a total of 996 cases amounting to about RM17.4mil in losses,” he said, adding that in most cases the money could not be retrieved as the syndicates operated from outside the country.