Act fast on tip-offs, banks told

Francis Paul Siah

KUCHING: Banks must act swiftly upon receiving tip-offs from the public in order to prevent any more attempted scams.

Movement for Change Sarawak (MOCS) chairman Francis Paul Siah said he had contacted the fraud department of a banking company on May 1 concerning an individual claiming to be a student in Kota Kinabalu, who was stranded in his apartment and was running out of cash and food, but instead wanted money banked into his account.

“When I asked for his residential address, he declined to give it to me, giving the excuse that food delivery was prohibited in his apartment. Why would a hungry student not welcome food being delivered to his home, and for free?

“The second red flag was when he appealed for a cash donation to be banked into a bank (name of bank provided) account which he gave me. Anyone can smell a rat from afar by now. This was clearly a con job,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Siah said as such he called the bank to report on the case on the possible scam job using the bank’s account.

“However, the bank said they could not do anything nor block the account until I lodge a police report,” he said.

“I don’t think that such SOPs of banks and financial institutions are helpful in solving the many fraud and scam jobs that we have been hearing of regularly,” he pointed out.

Instead, he was hoping that the bank, upon receiving a bona fide tip-off, could launch a probe immediately and to keep a close eye on the account transactions.

“The bank should also notify the police so that the owner of the account could be located and duly investigated,” he stressed.

Siah questioned whether the bank was interested in receiving tip-offs from the public about possible scams and fraud cases.

“If not, just let us know. Do not make things difficult for us and put us off with outdated SOPs. We are only trying to help nab conmen and scammers and bring them to justice.

He also questioned whether the bank’s nonchalant and indifferent attitude was one of the reasons why Malaysians had been easily scammed of more than RM5 million over the sale of face masks during this movement control order (MCO) period.

“I would think so. Add in the many gullible Malaysians and being a conman could well be quite a lucrative profession in this country,” he said.