New Straits Times
COPS NAB 44 ‘ACCOUNT MULES’
Housewives, jobless among those who allowed their bank accounts to be used by cybercriminals
IN five days, police have arrested 44 people, including 27 women, who acted as “account mules” by allowing their bank accounts to be used in cybercrime. Those arrested were aged between 21 and 57 and included housewives, students and the unemployed.
Federal police Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Amar Singh said they were arrested in the first-ever Op Mule Account, which targeted those linked to cybercrime, even though they were not directly involved in such scams.
He said the operation began on Thursday and ended yesterday.
The account owners were involved in cybercrime cases where five or more reports were lodged.
Amar said they were linked to three main types of cybercrime — Macau scams, African scams and e-financial fraud.
“They were linked to 319 investigations into cybercrime with losses totalling RM17 million,” he said.
He said most of the women were in a relationship with the main players of the cybercrime syndicates.
“Most of these main players are foreigners who need locals as their ‘middlemen’, whose accounts can be used for cash transfers.
“There are those among the ‘account mules’ who are given money or valuable items in exchange for allowing cybercriminals to use their bank accounts, but there are also those who are blinded by love for these criminals.
“In these cases, the criminals seduced the women and have them open bank accounts for the criminals’ use.
“There are also those who obtained the women’s personal information to open back accounts under their name without them knowing about it.”
Amar said police had obtained remand orders against those detained to facilitate investigations.
“I advise the public not to hand over personal information to any third party because they can use such information for criminal purposes.”