Home Insider Insider Review Will You Be the Next Victim of Online Scams?

Will You Be the Next Victim of Online Scams?

The global contraction caused by COVID-19 forced factories to close, work to be stopped, and reduced salaries. These conditions make some people very worried about the next meal.

Moe Moe, who is one of the millions facing financial problems to maintain a living, was turning to think borrowing would solve all of her problems, and received a short text stating “Mingalarbar. You can borrow money if you can accept and follow our terms and conditions.”

Moe Moe, having money trouble, was over the moon as she finally found a company to lend her money without collateral. She, lightheartedly, started investigating how to borrow that lifeline-money.

She learned that she would get the loan faster if she transferred an advance payment of 10% of the total loan. The other side of the text claimed Moe Moe can get the total loan within as fast as 2 hours only if she could submit the documents with the 10% advance payment. She started finding things to pawn and call friends and family to fill up that 10%.

As soon as she sent the 10%, the account claiming to be a financing business blocked her.

Moe Moe defenselessly whispered, “It was a really difficult time for us without any income. I was desperate enough not to think through the claims. Our family is poor and still in trouble because of that fraud.”

These con artists, societies’ delinquents, target many low-income demographic groups with the too-good-to-be-true tall tale that claims they would get a loan and an even taller tale would tell they would get high profits.

With the rising usage of social media in Myanmar, fake accounts on Facebook are increasingly used to commit fraud.

Everyone has to be aware that technology advancement brings not only advertised advantages but also unforeseen disadvantages.

These con artists are seeing a higher ROI nowadays just as they do not have to set shop or even talk to the victims. All you need is to type away all the fraudulent texts to many accounts and one or two, if not many, would be caught by the scam designed for the desperate enough to become gullible.

Another way to execute a fraud is to set up a fake account forging a handsome man’s personality on social media. Then they would find girls to woo them and to make them lovesick. They, playing with feelings, would sweet-talk the girls to build trust. When the girls show the signs of fondness, the fleecer would promise to marry, vowing to give a spectacular future. Once struck, fleecing lies would come as he is sending his gift or belongings to start a life here.

“A Facebook account, parading with photos that show a gent from London, lied to me”, Thazin Pann said, “When he knows I trust him, he said he sent things for me and was at the airport later sometime. He asked me for $5,000 to receive his ‘things’. There I knew he was a scam.”

In the past, mobile phones were a thing only well-off people can use. Online shopping started its boom only in 2015. Before all that, when you need an item, you have to find the shop, check the stock, and buy it with paper money.

Nowadays, smartphones have become a necessity, using them for every activity online, shopping, payment, reading, learning a new language, finding a place to rent, applying for loans, or to find love, you name it.

Online shopping saves your time and energy, yet you can also be conned by those who put their life’s work to defraud or just want to make money the wrong way.

Police Cheif U Nyunt Wai of the crime department said to Myanmar Insider, “The public is very eager to believe and this results in high number of frauds. Another thing is that telecom businesses still have not fully cooperated with our cyber police. There are other factors too. That is why we cannot fully regulate those frauds.”

Myanmar is seeing higher crime rates in murder, assault, theft, robbery, rape, and fraud as with growth in Yangon Population.

To reduce the frauds that are increasingly happening online, banks and telecom businesses need to cooperate as this also directly or indirectly affects their reputation and unsurveyed financial losses.

When registering with the banks, the banks should consider collecting more data like thumbprints and iris scans rather than just documents that could be easily forged.

Chief U Nyunt Wai also comments on recent fraud committed by Nigerians, “That culprit uses many MPU cards to receive money from the people. If the bank were to store the data adequately, we would have solved that case by now. We are facing delays in the investigation process because of the bank’s inadequate data storing system.”

The inefficiency in receiving registration information about the people from the telecoms is also a disadvantage for cyber police when it comes to investigating the crimes.

The frauds committed via Facebook accounts are mainly registered with SIM cards, which can easily be bought and thrown, without the need to register or suffer the consequence.

According to telecommunication law, to investigate a crime, the police can obtain the required information from the telecoms. The laws concerning human rights and data protection are there to prevent irresponsible data sharing.

“When we request the telecoms to gather the information needed to solve our crime, they don’t give us the data by pointing out the laws concerning human rights and data protection. The laws should be amended to be more efficient,” added Chief U Nyunt Wai.

Because of these reasons, it takes at least three months to solve an online fraud case.

Even though the cyber police can use the media and websites to educate the general public about these kinds of frauds, the fraud rates are rising steadily.

While more and more people use social media accompanied by technology development, over 50% of the users do not know much and are still not familiar with the technology they are using.

Deprivation of finance, knowledge, and social skills are used against the people by fleecers whether they are from local or foreign. Nobody knows the exact number of frauds being committed by incentivizing.

That’s why online activities, whenever it involves finances or values that are important for you, should be done with enough due diligence.

Both technology’s advantages and disadvantages are manipulated to access private information, such as bank information and passcodes, from payment channels.

One common way is to use different viruses and worms to infect mobile phones and computers to dig into private information. Users must check the credibility of websites and applications before making a transaction. For example, checking the domain’s spelling with the results from a different browser. Also, be aware NOT to give your passcodes, birthdate, ID numbers, card numbers to anyone.

Likewise, you must check the credibility of whom you are communicating on social media. Inspect their friend lists, comments, posts, and history and frequency of account usage. It is one’s job to scrutinize before believing and continue to do so even after one has shown to be trustworthy to evaluate. Only then, one can barely free oneself from known cybercrimes.

To date, there were reported online frauds of 264 cases in 2018, 106 cases in 2019, 148 cases in 2020.