A man was blackmailed after falling into yet another internet scam.

Ling Poh Lean  |  Singapore
Published 2014-11-11 10:00:21

How far will you go to entertain a “sad and lonely” new “friend” that you just added on your Facebook? Not sure about you, but I would definitely not strip naked just to cheer my new friend up.

Despite reading similar Internet scams over and over again, John Tan (not the real name) still could not resist the seduction from his new Filipina friend that he just met on Facebook.

“I knew there were cases like this and I suspected the girl could be fake, but when I saw how beautiful she was… I couldn’t resist,” the 30-year-old designer was quoted by The Star. He was speaking at a press conference called by Malaysia’s MCA public services and complaints department on Sunday. Together with him was the department’s chief Datuk Seri Michael Chong.

Image credit: Online business
Image credit: Online business

Tan told reporters that it was his very first time going all naked in front of a computer for another person. He said he met Sabrina Leung, a Filipina beauty on Nov 6 after she added him on Facebook. The entire “online escapade” from friend request to being in the buff took only 13 minutes, The Star reported.

The Filipina beauty told Tan that she worked in a hotel in Dubai and is planning a trip to Malaysia to meet with her relatives, which she also proposed to meet Tan in person.

“Then she asked me to go on Skype with her and get naked. She asked me to take off my clothes too. I did because she said she was feeling sad and bored,” Tan said.

Tan’s nightmare begin the next day when Sabrina sent him a message with a YouTube link which contained his naked video and demanded RM3,000 to be banked into a Western Union account. Not only that, Sabrina also threatened to forward the link to all his family members, friends, co-workers and girlfriend via Facebook if he refused to pay up.

John Tan and Michael Chong at the press conference. Image credit: TheStar
John Tan (left) and Michael Chong at the press conference.
Image credit: TheStar

A check by the department showed that the bank account does belonged to a Filipina, but the YouTube channel hosting the nude video belonged to a man in French Guiana. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission have since taken down the video.

Scammed For Love

As previously reported, 1750 people in Malaysia have fallen victim to online love scams since January 2013, amounting to a total loss of RM68 million. The Malaysian Federal Commercial Crimes Department director Datuk Seri Mortadza Nazarene added that out of the 1750 people, 1295 were female.

In February this year, a woman was threatened by her virtual lover to pay up for a package that he sent or he will inform the Interpol that she is a member of terrorist group. The suspect who first sweet-talked the woman told her that he had sent her the package to show his love after few months into the virtual relationship.

The victim then received a call from the “Customs Department” telling her that the package contained an undeclared amount of USD500,000 (about RM1.65 million) and before they could released the package she would have to pay a sum of money. When talked to her virtual boyfriend about the package, the suspect threatened to call the Interpol after the victim refused to pay. Feared for being linked to terrorism, the woman paid RM6,000 but the package never arrived.

Image credit: Daily Mail
Image credit: Daily Mail

Beside online love scams, scams involving multi-level-marketing or “skim cepat kaya” are also often used to lure Malaysians into traps. This year, a self-proclaimed Chinese millionaire Zhang Jian has seen actively recruiting members into his illegal company, YSLM via Facebook. Malaysian’s Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry said the company performing online-related business lured the “investors” to only invest RM300 and promised a return as much as RM6,000 per month. Beside the promising high income, members are also made to believe that they would win a brand new BMW car.

Although online scams have been reported every now and then, but there are still people who are naïve enough to fall into such traps. So, to our readers out there, if the online offers, may it from your “virtual partner”, strangers, well-known companies or some unknown companies, sounded too good to be true, then they probably are.

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