GEORGE TOWN: An accountant has lost RM510,000 to a phone scam syndicate posing as Bank Negara, earlier this month.
The 53-year-old accountant, who wanted to be known only as Lim, said this started on Oct 4 , when he received a short messaging service (SMS) at his office at Jalan Thean Teik at about 9am.
He said the SMS was to confirm if he had used his CIMB Bank credit card to buy jewellery worth RM4,299, and that he could verify the purchase by calling a phone number.
Suspecting something amiss as he did not possess such a card, Lim later called the number to enquire about the SMS.
“A woman who answered my call told me that the card was registered under my name in Johor Baru on Aug 25, and that there was an arrears of RM7,900.45.”
He said she also told him that his name may have been misused and asked him to contact “Bank Negara” for an investigation to be carried out.
He said he had believed the woman as he had heard of similar cases involving his clients that their personal details had been misused before.
“I thought I was one of them. It has never struck me that I will be a victim to this syndicate ,” he told a press conference at the state MCA headquarters here this morning.
Lim said he then contacted the “Bank Negara” which purportedly confirmed that his personal particulars had been misused by other parties.
He said he was also asked to provide all his banking details so that “Bank Negara” could freeze his accounts immediately.
“I was even given a Bank Negara report number and was told that an officer would be in touch with me.
“When the officer called me about 2pm the same day, he had asked that I transferred all my money in from my accounts into a ‘Bank Negara-controlled’ account.”
Lim said the “officer” then gave him the account numbers of two people.
“I immediately transferred RM200,000 into the accounts,” he said, adding that the officer also told him to keep the bank-in slips and produced them in court later.
The following day, he said he received another call from the same officer to say that his case would be investigated by a woman.
“This time, the woman called me and asked me to withdraw the remaining amount of my money to be put into the Bank Negara-controlled account.
“They told me if my bank queried about the large withdrawal, I should inform that the money would be used to renovate my house.
“Again, I transferred RM200,000 into the same accounts and another RM110,000 into another bank.
Lim said the woman then told him that he would be given a bank passbook by 5pm that day but he had yet to get anything.
He said it was only then that he felt that he had been cheated and lodged a report at the Air Itam police station.
He said he contacted the police and was told that their investigation was pending.
“I have also forwarded my report to Bank Negara which has informed me that I had fallen victim to a syndicate,” he added.
Meanwhile, Penang MCA public services and complaint bureau chief Gui Guat Lye advised the public to be careful and to ignore when they received any such calls in future.
“It will be better if they can go straight to the bank to check rather than making calls.
“We hope Lim’s case will serve as an eye opener to others so that they will not fall victims to such a scam in future,” he added.