Johor retiree loses RM3.8 million to online scam offering IMF grant

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A senior citizen lost more than RM3.8 million to a scam syndicate which had promised him an assistance grant from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Johor Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Salleh Abdullah said the victim’s ordeal began in July last year when he met the suspect, known as Freddie Khoo, on Facebook.

“The suspect offered an IMF assistance grant worth US$150,000 to the victim. The victim then contacted the suspect through WhatsApp.

“The victim, 74, was told that he had to make an advance payment before he could receive the grant. He then made the first payment of RM12,800,” said Mohd Salleh in a statement.

The suspect then told the victim that the grant had been increased to US$900,000, so the victim would have to make more payments to secure the grant.

“Between July and Dec 2020, the victim made a total of 64 transactions to 10 local bank accounts totalling RM3,811,300,” said Mohd Salleh.

He said the suspect then told the victim that the offer had expired, and he had to make a new application.

“The victim then realised he had been duped because he did not get the grant and lodged a report at the Tampoi police station.

“An investigation paper has been opened under Section 420 of the Penal Code,” said Mohd Salleh.

He reminded the public not to be easily deceived by people they have only recently met, especially through social media.

“The public should always be careful by making background checks on the individuals they are dealing with, and to check with the relevant authorities like Bank Negara Malaysia on the existence of any assistance grant.” – NST