By Sonia Ramachandran and Tan Choe Choe
KUALA LUMPUR: There have been many awareness campaigns and reports on cheating cases in the media. But these have done absolutely nothing to enlighten a gullible public.
Police are worried and bewildered over a spike in the number of victims who have lost millions of ringgit to conmen.
What is of even greater concern are new methods employed by fraudsters, including "parcel" scams via social networking sites.
Those duped come from all racial and social backgrounds, age, as well as gender.
Commercial Crime Investigation Department (Cyber and Multimedia Investigation Division) assistant director Assistant Commissioner Mohd Kamarudin Md Din told the New Sunday Times that victims suffered losses amounting to RM5 million (S$2.07 million) via scams conducted over social networking sites last year, and RM2 million in 2008.
Cybercrimes such as "phishing" and "spoofing" are also on the rise.
Malaysians lost RM9.9 million to conmen last year in "magical" scams, said Assistant Commissioner Latt Mazura Mansor, the federal Commercial Crime Investigation De partment (Corporate Investigation Division) assistant director.
There was an 80 per cent increase in such cases last year from 2008.
Victims thought they were getting a miracle cure or magical solution to their problems or ailments.
"Some victims were told they were possessed by a spirit and had to be treated immediately," said Latt.
Police advise the people to cultivate a "verifying" culture. Malaysians, they said, are just too trusting.