Malaysiakini Letter

Online scams spreading, consumers must be cautious

Shabana Naseer
Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | What shocking news which was published recently where an average of RM2 billion is lost every year due to online scams and commercial crime. 

As the Internet continues to expand in every household and every aspect of society, it looks like online scams are only growing in sophistication. From online shopping scams to Macau scams causing losses up to millions, it seems like there will never be an ending to this saga.

Sharing statistics by National Consumers Complaints Centre (NCCC), from 2015 to 2017, e-commerce topped the list with the highest number of complaints where we witnessed the number of complaints increasing every year. 

In 2015, the number of complaints was 7,692, while in 2017 the number of complaints had increased to 10,160. The types of complaints lodged were mostly on scams, disputes over payments and difficulties in obtaining refunds, misleading advertisements and poor product quality.

Malaysia was among the earliest nations in Southeast Asia that designed a National Cyber Security Policy. Malaysia was also among the earliest nations in Southeast Asia to enact cyber-related laws. 

Just to name a few, we have the Computer Crimes Act 1997, the Consumer Protection Act 1999 (online sales and purchase transactions), the Contracts Act 1950, the Direct Sales Act 1993, the Penal Code and many more. 

However, despite such laws in place, many scammers are still at large and it is difficult to apprehend them as they constantly change their identities using different tactics and modus operandi to swindle money from innocent and naive consumers.

It is time for the authorities to take a hard look at the current security measures and for consumers to exercise caution whenever they conduct online transactions. Following these simple steps will be a big help:

First, check the background of the company with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) on whether the company is registered as it is compulsory for online operating companies to register with the CCM.

You may log on to here to check if their accounts or others were used for fraudulent activities. Also, never send money or give credit card numbers or your online account details to anyone you do not know or trust.

Last but not least, we strongly encourage you to report scams to Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna (KPDNEP) via their online portal, NCCC or to the police. This will be a great help to us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams whenever possible. 

Be sure to include details of the scam, for example, e-mails or screenshots or any information to help with the investigations.


The writer is legal adviser, Fomca.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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