MCMC, 15 phone companies link up to fight mobile scams

The awareness campaign will start tomorrow and focus on scams involving phone calls, SMS messages and bank transaction authentication codes. (AFP pic)

PUTRAJAYA: Fifteen telephone companies are to join forces with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to fight phone scams, which caused losses of more than RM580 million since 2019.

MCMC said the crime prevention awareness campaign will involve educating consumers in identifying fraudulent activities and taking the right measures to prevent them.

The companies involved are Altel, Celcom, Digi, Maxis, Merchantrade, Pavocomms, RedOne, RedTone, Time, Telekom Malaysia, TuneTalk, U Mobile, Webe, XOX and Yes.

“The awareness campaign is focused on three telecommunication scams — phone calls, SMS messages and transaction authentication codes (TAC).

“Scams involving phone calls occur when an unknown caller claims to be an officer from a government body, such as the police, customs, Bank Negara or the courts.

“They also involve private bodies, such as banks, scamming potential victims into believing that they have issues with the authorities, forcing them to disclose their personal and financial information,” it said.

MCMC said the SMS fraud occurs when victims receive a text message claiming there has been a banking transaction which the victim must confirm by contacting a phone number provided or by clicking a link attached.

Scammers involved in the TAC scam will contact victims using various media before asking them to provide the TAC number, which they claim has been wrongly delivered to the victims’ phone number.

During the campaign, announcements related to information as well as tips to identify fraudulent activity and steps that can be taken will be shared on various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and websites.

MCMC said 1,290 cases of fraud were reported to the commission last year and until May this year.

Those found involved can be charged under Section 420 of the Penal Code while fixed line or mobile phone numbers found to be used in fraudulent activities could be terminated under Section 263 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

According to MCMC, police records show 5,725 cases of phone call fraud were reported throughout 2019 with RM254,586,210 in losses.

This increased in 2020 when 6,003 cases were logged with reported losses of RM287,301,039.

It said as of March 24, a total of 1,392 cases of phone call fraud were reported to the police, with losses amounting to RM38,198,730.

MCMC also advised the public to be vigilant when receiving calls or messages via SMS from unknown and suspicious individuals and immediately refer the matter to the relevant authorities.

Consumers are also encouraged to channel information and submit complaints regarding scams to the Commercial CID Scam Response Centre at 03-2610 1559 or 03-2610 1599, which is open daily from 8am to 8pm.

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