| Azlan Othman |
A 60-YEAR-OLD Bruneian woman recently fell prey to an African scam as ‘romance’ bloomed online and ended up losing thousands of hard-earned dollars.
The Royal Brunei Police Force’s Comm-ercial Crime Investigative Division swung into action and with the cooperation of Malaysian Police Force busted the scam.
ASP Zamri Salleh bin Hj Mahmud from the Commercial Crime Investigation Division of the CID of the Royal Brunei Police Force revealed this in a talk on cybercrime situation in Brunei Darussalam to a group of teachers from private schools yesterday at the Ministry of Education building at the Old Airport.
“This old lady befriended a foreign man who claimed to be an engineer in an established company in the Middle East through online chat.
“The man, who was in fact an African, made up stories and asked the old lady to send cash. He also said he had a parcel containing valuable gifts to be sent to Brunei and asked for money as the parcel was held up at the Customs Office in Malaysia. He told the lady that RM20,000 was needed to clear the parcel from the Customs Office.”
ASP Zamri said to track down the culprit, the Brunei police followed the victim to Kuala Lumpur and busted the scam.
He also outlined some of the examples of cybercrimes including those that come under the Computer Misuse Act 2007 such as unauthorised access to company’s email, unauthorised modification of computer content, unauthorised interception of computer service, unauthorised obstruction of computer use and unlawful disclosure of access.
Other cybercrimes include phishing scams targeting banks such as email spoofing and smishing or sending short message service (SMS) promising a handsome prize money such as the Indonesian ‘Dangdut’ scam.
“The public needs to be cautious. There is no such thing as easy money where people simply give you money through lottery and so on.
“Suspects are driven by money and it is important for us to be aware of this,” he added.
“The best way is to ignore such promises and tactics which are simply too good to be true. This sort of crime involving the social media evolves very rapidly. It used to be through SMS, but now Facebook and WhatsApp have become their tools.”
Other examples of scams include bank frauds involving ATM cards and credit cards, and sextortion where a couple meets online and their lurid behaviour is recorded. The so-called ‘boyfriend’ then threatens to upload her obscene photos unless money is sent to him.
Spreading false information through the social media also comes under cybercrime and he urged the public to first verify and not spread it through Facebook, WhatsApp and so on. Spreading false reports likely to cause public alarm or despondency and spreading false information that would give rise to fear of safety of any person or property are dealt with under the Public Order Act 2002, he said.