Woman loses RM210k to non-existent “Covid-19 relief grant”

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A Vietnamese woman’s bid to secure US$100,000 (RM403,000) via a supposed grant for Covid-19 victims ended up in her losing a whopping RM210,600 to scammers.

The 58-year-old woman, who holds Malaysian permanent residency status, had in August last year received a Facebook message from a friend who told her about an assistance scheme for Covid-19 victims.

On Aug 17, she decided to browse the page for the scheme, named ‘Covid-19 United Nation Grant Fund Relief’ and subsequently sent a message to the account to apply for financial assistance for herself.

The programme supposedly offered US$100,000 to eligible Covid-19 victim.

Relating the case, Northeast district police chief Assistant Commissioner Soffian Santong said the victim had applied for financial assistance to buy a house and for her daily needs as her husband is disabled and unemployed.

“The victim dealt with a man through Facebook Messenger, who had asked her to fill up an application form. She then sent in her particulars along with her identification card as well as her bank account details.

Danial Saad/NST

“The man then asked the woman to pay RM8,000 for documentation and insurance,” he said.

From Aug 18 until Nov 17, the woman transferred a total of RM210,600 via 12 different transactions into five separate accounts through cash deposit machines and instant transfers (via bank counters) in the hopes of receiving the financial assistance.

“However, after the transactions were made, the man stopped contacting the victim,” he said.

Soffian said it was only then that the victim realised she could have been cheated and decided to lodge a police report to get her money back.

“We are still investigating the matter. Based on our checks, the bank accounts used by the suspect had been used in five other cheating cases in Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Sarawak,” he added.

The case is being probed under Section 420 of the Penal Code. – NST