We’re losing the battle, expert warns

PETALING JAYA: “We are losing the battle.” These are the grim thoughts of a cybersecurity expert on the country’s fight against online fraud.

LGMS Bhd Chairman CF Fong, who is well versed in tracking online scams, believed that the scale of losses due to online fraud was far greater than had been reported.

He said most of the online scams exposed involved larger sums.

“But we have many who have lost small sums who are too shy to report it,” said Fong, whose company offers freelance professional cybersecurity services.

It was reported that a total of 71,833 commercial crime cases involving losses amounting to RM5.2 billion were recorded from 2020 to May this year.

Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said of the total, some 48,850 cases, or 68%, involved online fraud.

Fong said his team of forensic experts scoured the internet and found countless scenarios used by various types of scammers to lure the unsuspecting.

These storylines have continued to adapt to the latest trends, he said.

“Our goal is to get their (scammers) bank details so we can report them to the banks.

“In this way, we hope to at least help prevent some people from becoming victims,” ​​he said, adding that his company had so far shared more than 100 scammer accounts with banks.

Within months, Fong and his team managed to uncover 10 different types of scammers from their encounters on social media.

These include porn chat scams, mystery romance scams, Nigerian inheritance scams, KLIA collection scams, forex, gambling, fake investment guru, Ah Long, employment scams and various online sales.

Fong said there are two common ways for scammers to siphon money – using an Android Package Kit (APK) file to “hack” mobile phones and stealing the transaction activation code number. (TAC) and attract someone using emotions.

He said social media’s susceptibility to being abused by scammers was one of the many reasons he believed social media was not a workable “market”.

“Unlike shopping platforms, social media platforms do not function as a mediator, so consumers buying on social media buy at their own risk.

“Many cases of leaks or disputes occur, but sellers are held accountable.

“As for sellers, they also face similar risks when goods have been sold without receipt of payment,” he said.

“However, their risks can be greatly reduced by imposing certain rules.”

Fong said he sees the government’s plan to regulate online businesses with a special license for sellers as counterintuitive.

“What we need is to focus on strengthening our online transactions application.

“Authorities must also crack down on inappropriate advertising,” he said.

“Just compare these ads to those in newspapers and TV…social media ads are totally out of control.”