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Duped Student Turns Sleuth to Expose Online Conman

KUALA LUMPUR – After being cheated out of RM65 by an online seller, a 19-year-old student became an amateur detective and found 106 others who were also scammed by the same person.

Lee (not her real name) said this individual managed to swindle a total of RM12,094 from all the victims.

She also managed to find the owner of the bank account into which some of the victims deposited the money.

This man, she said, claimed he was not aware his account was being used for the scam.

“He said that he gave his details to another person for investment purposes,” she added.

Lee said she had deposited the money into the account as payment for a handphone cover after seeing the “promotion” on Facebook.

“The cases were pretty, so my friends and I decided to place orders,” she said at a press conference held by MCA Public Services and Complaints Department chief Datuk Seri Michael Chong.

Lee said the seller insisted she banked in the RM65 into the account as soon as possible, after claiming the offer was about to expire.

She made payment on May 13 but didn’t receive her purchase, and the page was deactivated at the end of May.

Lee said the Facebook page was activated again on June 4 but the seller ignored all her messages.

She compiled the names of all the other victims, the amount of money lost and reports made with the police and Bank Negara Malaysia.

Knowing the seller had other Facebook pages offering the same item, Lee sought Chong’s help to stop others from falling victim to the online scam.

Chong said the public needed to be careful with online purchases and advised them to buy only from licensed businesses.

“You should also read reviews of the sellers before buying from them so that you know they are genuine,” he said.

This year alone, Chong revealed, he had received five complaints about online scams. Collectively, he said, the victims had lost RM71,394. – The Star Online