An accountant who is supposed to be an expert on figures found himself fleeced of more than half a million ringgit of his savings from several accounts by operatives of what is believed to be a ‘Macau’ scam syndicate in just two days through an elaborate credit card scam.
Lim Lye Bee, an accountant with a private firm, lost a total of RM510,000 in a series of transactions from Oct 4 till Oct 5.
The 53-year-old said he received an SMS on his handphone from an unknown number asking him to verify the purchase of a diamond priced at RM4,299 from a jewellery shop on a certain credit card.
Reportedly, Lim does not even have a credit card with any local bank.
What’s for sure is the credit card allegedly used for the purchase did not belong to him.
“I was told to call the number given if I did not make the transaction. When I called the number, a woman said that I had RM7,900.45 arrears for my Visa Platinium credit card which was registered under my name on Aug 25.
“The woman told me my name had been misused by others and asked me to contact Bank Negara on the number given for further investigation,” he told reporters at a press conference at the Penang MCA Public Complaints Bureau which was attended by Penang MCA public service and complaints bureau chief Gui Guat Lye.
He proceeded to call the “Bank Negara” number and was told that his identity had been stolen and used to register the line of credit under his name.
Lim said he had spoken over the phone to several people – purportedly “Bank Negara officers” – in August.
“The first ‘bank officer’ told me I was a victim of identity theft and asked me for all my bank account numbers so that they could be frozen immediately,” he said.
Lim was then given a “report number” and told to wait for a call from the officer’s superior.
The “superior” called a few hours later and told him to transfer all his savings into two bank accounts, which were supposedly “Bank Negara-controlled accounts” for “safekeeping”.
“The accounts were under the name of Looi Kai Weng and Low Chie Seng. I made nine transactions from my two accounts,” he said, adding that he followed the syndicate’s instructions and did not suspect anything.
He added that he did not ask further as he was too worried back then and just heeded the instructions.
“The woman officer told me that they would give me a passbook to access those accounts later but it never happened,” said Lim.
When no further calls came, he began to suspect something amiss and it then dawned on the accountant of 27 years that he could have been cheated.
He subsequently lodged a police report.
“It was all so realistic. I never imagined I was being cheated. I hope my story will help prevent others from falling victim to these scammers,” he said.
Gui has urged the public to be vigilant and to not reveal any personal bank details to any parties over the phone and to ignore calls purportedly from Bank Negara or banks.
“Go to the nearest bank branch if you need to check, and never use the number given in the message or by the caller,” Gui said.
Related report: Jul 11, Group of 50 Professional Scammers Freed