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“Some people mortgage their houses to pay these criminals,” Whitty says, “but often the devastation they feel is more about the loss of the relationship than the money — of realizing they’ve been duped.” And worryingly, such scams appear to be growing more common; last year, U.S.-based IT security developer SOPHOS ranked Malaysia as sixth globally in terms of cyber crime threat risks, as the total cyber crime bill topped 0 million.
A study commissioned earlier this year by the Telenor Group, a Norwegian multinational telecommunications company with operations in Europe and Asia, found that Malaysia was the country most vulnerable to Internet scams.“Some victims find it very hard to break away from the relationship, even when they’ve been told it’s not real,” says Professor Monica Whitty, an expert on Internet fraud psychology. citizens have fallen prey to such “sweetheart scams” since the phenomenon was first reported around 2007.“So the criminal admits to scamming the victim but says that they also fell in love with them at the same time, and they get back into the same scam.” But it is not just lovelorn Americans who are being swindled; other foreign embassies in Kuala Lumpur are dealing with similar complaints, reports Reuters. Slightly more men than women are duped by fraudulent lovers, but men are less likely to seek recompense out of embarrassment.There were 14,627 cases of online scams last year, in which victims lost a total of RM1.09 billion.KUALA LUMPUR • The "romance" out of Africa is so beguiling that Malaysian women gave away RM71 million (S million) to love scam- mers last year in spite of frequent reports on the fraud in the media.
"It is very alarming that such cases are on an upward trend.