Because today’s youths are the most avid users of technology, this also means that they are also at risk of falling prey to online scams. To educate its students on the dangers lurking in cyberspace, INTI International University’s Faculty of Education and Liberal Arts (FELA) hosted a symposium on 23 March.
The event titled “Online Scams: Are You A Target?”, which was attended by students from various programmes, featured ASP Mohd Razmil Razak, Head of Commercial Crime Investigation at the Nilai Police Headquarters, Vijayadurai Singgatore, Manager of LINK & BNM Office at Bank Negara Malaysia, and Zul Hilmi Abdullah, a lecturer from INTI International University’s Faculty of Data Science and Information Technology (FDSIT), who gave valuable insights on online scams and how the public can avoid being scammed.
The symposium titled “Online Scams: Are You A Victim?” organized by INTI International University’s Faculty of Education and Liberal Arts (FELA) saw the participation of over 200 students who benefitted from tips on how to avoid being scammed.
According to Vijayadurai, university students are the most vulnerable target, often being lured by job scams, phone scams, and mule account providers due to their desire to earn extra money.
“This desire to keep up with lifestyle trends become a threat,” Vijayadurai said during the question-and-answer session at the end of the symposium.
He cited the Macau scam as an example, where scammers introduce themselves as a bank or law enforcement officer to get people to divulge their personal banking information or transfer money into a third-party account.
“It is best to hang up calls immediately if the caller seems suspicious. The longer you are on the phone, the higher the chance of getting scammed,” he advised, adding that scammers are well-trained to scare people into acting abruptly during a moment of panic.
With mule account cases on the rise, he further advised students to stay vigilant and be responsible social media users to avoid being tricked by mule account providers.
“Students are highly encouraged not to share their account credentials with anyone, especially on social media, as scammers often use social media platforms to carry out their illegal activities,” he said.
He said students should reach out to call the National Scam Response Centre (NSRC) at 997 to report of any online financial fraud incidents.
Meanwhile, ASP Mohd Razmil warned the audience about interacting with the owner of mule accounts.
“You need to be responsible for your own account number, so it is best not to share your credentials with anyone, even those close to you,” he said.
According to the Star online, mule accounts are accounts that do not belong to the criminals, but they have access to them to receive and transfer stolen money to others while keeping their identity hidden.
(Second from left) Ng Ee Sern, a student pursuing the Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons) programme in collaboration with Coventry University, UK, said the symposium reminded him of when he fell victim to online scams during his school years.
Meanwhile, Ng Ee Sern, a student pursuing the Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons) programme in collaboration with Coventry University, said the symposium reminded him of when he fell prey to an online scam during his school years.
“I used to be immature and did not understand the pattern of online scams. I remember signing up using my phone number on a website. Little did I know, I got a message saying that my pre-paid money was gone due to my actions,” he said, adding that the symposium reminded him to be more mindful of his day-to-day actions online.
Fadhilah Nur Rania (left), a student from the Bachelor of Information Technology (Hons) programme in collaboration with Coventry University, UK, said the symposium increased her knowledge on cybersecurity.
Fadhilah Nur Rania, a student who is also pursuing the same programme, said that the symposium gave her a deeper look into cybersecurity.
“It was interesting to find out more about mule accounts as I had not known about how cybercriminals move money around. It also made me realize the importance of being vigilant when it comes to protecting my personal information, as it could easily be used to open a mule account without my knowledge,” she said
When asked if she had ever become an online scam victim, she said being an IT student has its advantages.
“Knowledge on cybersecurity is included in the courses I am taking at INTI. I am glad that I have some information about cybersecurity practices,” she said.
Horniesha Devny Shanmugam, a student pursuing the Bachelor of Mass Communication (Hons) programme at INTI International University, was glad to know ways to avoid becoming a victim of online scams.
Another participant, Horniesha Devny Shanmugam, who is a student pursuing the Bachelor of Mass Communication (Hons) programme, shared that she had previously been a victim of online scams three times.
“The first occurred when I was selling my digital camera on the Carousell app. I was asked to deposit an amount to make the international transaction go through first with my local savings account. The scammer assured me he would pay me back once the amount is processed via the international account, but then I realised that something was wrong when he continued to ask for more money and then I got a spam email,” she said, adding that her brother had once lost a total of RM100,000 of his savings due to online scams too.
She said the incident taught her to become a more mature social media user.
“This event taught me a great lesson. There are all sorts of fraudsters online so we need to keep our information private and use the right channels to get help if it happens,” she said.