Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Online con

Beware the online con


By SEREAN LAU and CHRISTINA TAN
newsdesk@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: It is important for women to check the background of a person they meet over Internet social networking websites to avoid being cheated.


“You need to check the background of the person to know whether the person is genuine or just a sweet talker. Whatever is posted by the man should be vetted thoroughly like calling up a company to see if he really works there,” said Wanita MCA Cupid Space project executor Peggy Lim (pic).


She also cautioned women not to rush into making a commitment.

“You need at least eight months to know a person. There is no need to rush into things,” she added.

“Feelings are a huge emotional trigger and for a woman, it is important to control these feelings when the courtship has only been going on for a short while.”

She said that among the reasons that women were scammed by online Casanovas was due to loneliness and desperation as they were afraid they would not be able to find a companion and accepted “any man who fancies them”

“The essential tools to sustain a relationship are patience and to earn the trust needed,” she said.

In June, a 47-year-old housewife said that she lost her savings and money she borrowed from her family and friends totalling RM1.2mil to a con man that she befriended on the Internet.

The man had claimed to be a Briton.

Meanwhile, MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong said he received complaints from 18 women on cheating scams with losses amounting to more than RM2.4mil since 2007.

He urged women to be wary of such con men.

Chong said the complaints that he received had a similar modus operandi – the men would get to know the women via Internet and send them expensive gifts before demanding for money.

Chong added that most of the victims were single mothers, divorcees and unmarried women.

“The con men also introduced themselves as businessmen, sons of senior politicians and professionals like engineers,” he said.

Chong said he believed the men involved in the scam were foreigners although some may have had the help of locals.


Related Story:

They virtually fleece the lonely and the desperate

The dark truth about a sweet-talking Casanova

By ONG HAN SEAN
hansean@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: He is neither good looking nor young, but this sweet-talking Casanova has managed to cheat at least seven women of nearly RM400,000.
The 41-year-old Singaporean, known as Dennis Lim, has a habit of preying on women through the social networking website, ahmoi.com.

 
That’s him!: Chong and Qi Qi checking out a picture of Lim at the department chief’s office in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
 
One of his victims, Qi Qi, lost RM294,662 within the seven months of their “friendship.”

“I was not really attracted to him. He was really aggressive and he made the first move online,” said the 34-year-old businesswoman from Penang, who sought the help of MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong at his office yesterday.

She said Lim claimed to be a factory manager and knew how to take advantage of her weakness.
“He used sob stories to get my sympathy.

“For instance, he claimed his stepmother was admitted into ICU; that his ex-boss had delayed his business reimbursements and that he had met with a road accident before Chinese New Year.

“I felt sorry for him and wanted to help,” she said, adding that she allowed Lim to use her credit cards when he visited her in Penang in October last year.

Qi Qi started getting suspicious in March and lodged two police reports in Penang and another two in Singapore.

She later traced Lim’s caller history from a sub-line she started for him, and found six other women in Malaysia whom Lim had cheated for money and sex.

“His modus operandi is to get acquainted with lonely, single women online and then slowly work his way into their pockets with his sob stories,” Qi Qi said, adding that the victims had refused to make police reports against Lim.

Chong urged the other victims to come forward so that he could assist them.
“I will take this case to the Malaysian Interpol and relevant authorities,” he said.

He also reminded women to be wary of meeting strangers online.

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