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KUALA LUMPUR • The "romance" out of Africa is so beguiling that Malaysian women gave away RM71 million (S million) to love scam- mers last year in spite of frequent reports on the fraud in the media.
These women topped the list of victims who lost a total of RM1 billion in online scams, The Star reported.
It all seemed so real but a close friend warned me not to pay.
"But the person, claiming to be from the courier firm, called me several times later to negotiate the sum," she said.
These scams are based upon the idea of offering you help or advice that is actually deceptive, trusting that you will rely on the scammer's "local knowledge".
They usually involve giving advice that results in you paying for something that you otherwise wouldn't or going somewhere you don't want to go.
"It is very alarming that such cases are on an upward trend.
While Malaysia topped the list with 46 per cent of respondents saying they had been victims of Internet scams, followed by Thailand at 43 per cent, Singapore has the highest rate of identity fraud, according to the report.
About 46 per cent of the Malaysian respondents, all of whom described themselves as Internet users averaging nearly 10 hours per day on the Web, also said they knew a friend or family member who had been scammed online.
Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigations Department (CCID) director Mortadza Nazarene said cheating by Africans, which included love scams, recorded a significant increase last year in spite of the department's campaigns and media coverage over the modus operandi of these conmen.
Datuk Seri Mortadza said there were 14,627 cases of online scams last year, in which victims lost a total of RM1.09 billion.
In one instance, a retired business executive in her 50s, who gave her name only as Marie, almost lost RM10,000 because of "love" two years ago. She said the man voiced interest in meeting her in Malaysia.