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Love Scam and Online Gambling Ring Busted in Kuala Lumpur

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Malaysia has strict laws against all forms of gambling, including iGaming, reflecting the broader trend in Asia where some countries only permit casinos for foreigners. Despite the ban on online gambling, scams or frauds related to gambling are equally illegal. Recently, this led to the arrest of a dozen individuals in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.

The details of these arrests surfaced earlier this week, although the police raid itself took place on May 16. During the raid, law enforcement officers targeted a residential unit where an online gambling and love scam syndicate was operating. As a result, 12 people suspected of participating in illegal activities were taken into custody.

Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf, the director commissioner of Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID), disclosed that the detained individuals are suspected of being agents for the criminal syndicate. The Star reported that these employees worked as call center agents and were compensated with a 4% commission on the victims’ gambling losses.

The call center agents earned a monthly salary of RM2,500 ($531) for their involvement. According to Yoosuf, the suspected individuals primarily targeted victims in the United States. The syndicate began its operations in April and created fake social media profiles to lure unsuspecting victims. After gaining their trust, the agents persuaded them to engage in online gambling, resulting in the victims losing all their money. However, the exact number of victims and the total amount of money involved remain unconfirmed.

The syndicate’s activities were revealed by Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf, who confirmed that the suspects, including one woman, might face charges under Malaysia’s Penal Code Section 511 and Section 420. The ages of those arrested range from 18 to 43 years old. During the raid, the authorities confiscated 33 mobile phones, nine laptops, and various currencies.

The syndicate created fake social media accounts before getting to know victims in the United States.

Yoosuf highlighted the syndicate’s strategy of creating fake social media accounts to connect with their victims in the United States before convincing them to gamble online. This fraudulent operation led to significant financial losses for the victims.

The enforcement of Malaysia’s stringent gambling laws underscores the country’s commitment to curbing illegal gambling and related scams. This recent bust in Kuala Lumpur serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts to combat such criminal activities.

About Love Scams

Love scams, also known as romance scams, have become increasingly prevalent in the digital age. These schemes typically involve perpetrators creating fake profiles on dating websites or social media to build relationships with unsuspecting victims, ultimately manipulating them into sending money or personal information. One notable event occurred in 2019, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that Americans lost over $201 million to romance scams, marking a significant rise from previous years. The scammers often exploit emotional vulnerability, making it difficult for victims to recognize the deceit until it is too late.

Another significant incident took place in 2021, involving an international romance scam ring that was dismantled by the FBI. The operation, known as Operation Gold Phish, led to the arrest of over 30 individuals across the United States and Nigeria. These scammers targeted victims through online dating platforms, convincing them to transfer large sums of money under various pretenses, such as emergency needs or investment opportunities. The success of Operation Gold Phish highlighted the sophisticated nature of these scams and the importance of international cooperation in combating online fraud.

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