The police have detected a new criminal tactic by a fraud syndicate that deceives victims by manipulating the utility bill payment system.
“The syndicate will contact victims who have utility bill arrears and offer a discount if the victim allows them to settle the arrears,” Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) Director Mohd Kamarudin Md Din said in a statement yesterday.
The syndicate would claim to advance money on behalf of the victim and allege that they will use the payment receipt to obtain a tax exemption, Kamarudin said.
He said after obtaining the victim’s consent, the syndicate would use bounced cheques to make payments through deposit machines belonging to utility service providers.
Thereafter, the service provider’s system would display a record that payment has been made on the utility bill.
The syndicate would then ask the victim to transfer money to them by depositing the sum into a bank account belonging to a third party, he said.
“The victims will only be aware of being cheated when the service provider informs them that they have failed to cash the cheques,” he added.
Kamarudin said that Bukit Aman received a report this month involving a loss of RM8,500, adding that the case is still under investigation under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.
He also urged those who may have been victims of the syndicate’s scam to come forward and lodge a police report at their nearest police station.
The public is also reminded to pay their utility bills directly to legitimate service providers and to not answer calls from unknown numbers.
The public can check the validity of suspicious telephone numbers and bank account numbers by using the semak mule portal or by contacting the CCID’s Scam Response Centre at 03-2610 1559/1599.