Despite economic torpor and a laughable wage floor, it’s good to know that we Malaysians are still big-hearted enough to surrender our hard-earned wages to charity: namely, Nigerian princes in need of rescue.
Bukit Aman’s Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) said that Malaysians are still falling for Nigerian prince scams, with 1,106 cases worth RM 44 million recorded in the first half of 2016 alone.
Dubbed the 419 scam, this scam emerged soon after the invention of email and more and more Malaysians are falling for it. 1,106 cases of the scam have been reported for the first half of 2016, catching up quickly to the 1,521 cases (worth RM 71.3 million) for the entire 2015. The 2016 figures has already surpassed the 1,028 cases (worth RM 52.3 million) recorded for the entire 2014.
CCID director Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani noted that the 419ers’ modus operandi hasn’t really changed all that much over the years, save for the fact that victims now also lured in through social media.
Acryl Sani also revealed that CCID busted two scam operations this week, with a total of eight Nigerians and one Malaysian arrested for a scam amounting to RM 7.2 million from a single victim. The victim’s police report, along with a tip-off from Australian police about scam money being transferred between the two countries, led to cops launching two separate ops to track down the syndicate members.
The arrests come on the heels of a joint Interpol and Nigerian police operation where a 419er called ‘Mike’ and his accomplice (his mechanic?) were arrested for running a 40-strong international scam syndicate that has stolen about USD 60 million (RM 242.6 million).
The vast, globe-spanning network had 419ers operating in eight countries, including the US, Canada, South Africa, Canada, and perhaps inevitably, Malaysia. Amazingly, a quarter of the total haul, USD 15.4 million (RM 63 million), was from one victim alone. A sum that most wouldn’t even trust their spouses or children with, let alone random dude on the internet.
To be fair, Mike’s scams weren’t always carried out using the Nigerian prince stuck in jail/space script. The network also hacked the company emails of high ranking employees, and request that junior employees send money to their accounts. So beware your boss asking you for a quick loan, or ransom, for that matter.
Arrests aside, one consolation is that the old folks who keep getting duped out of their savings are getting some extra(judicial) justice from the internet’s greatest scambaiting army. Because on 419 Eaters, lunch is still being served.