According to Malay Mail, five telco companies and nearly 100 content providers are allegedly involved in a scam that has stolen customers’ information and RM100 million from prepaid credit users. The scam believed to have been running for 10 years would gain profit by sending paid SMS without authorisation from customers.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has reported that the involved content providers would send multiple types of SMS to prepaid credit users. These paid SMS usually contain interactive contents such as games, ringtones, and wallpapers.
Once received by customers, their prepaid credit would be deducted from RM0.50 to RM5 for every SMS even though they didn’t send a request for such SMS or interactive contents in the first place. They mainly target users with prepaid credit as there is no bill to reflect these ridiculous charges.
In addition to siphoning almost RM 100 million from victims, these companies have bribed telco personnel to obtain users’ personal data. The data would then be fed into the SMS delivery system that sends the unauthorised paid SMS to victims.
According to MACC’s investigation since March, it is a highly organised scheme which involved not only telco insiders with a variety of rankings and roles but also offshore bank accounts. Last month, it was reported that several telco officials including a former telco CMO and CTO were remanded by the MACC to assist in investigations.
Individuals who were involved in the scam were paid between RM100,000 to RM200,000 each.
“The roles that are known to receive bribes to do with the scam includes payment officers, budget coordinators, exclusive content producers, governance providers, product managers, project heads, and other important roles. Based on our investigation, they worked together in the content provider companies to work on the scam,” said the MACC.
Besides that, the personal data that was obtained illegally from the telco insiders have also been sold to other parties such as online affiliate marketing agencies. MACC has detained 16 individuals to assist in the investigation so far.