JOHOR BARU, Feb 21 — The state police are investigating a case where several companies were approached for money on the pretext of business opportunities by a person who allegedly impersonated Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim through a fake Instagram account.
Investigators were immediately notified of the case shortly after receiving a police report lodged by the Johor Royal Palace media unit at 2.35pm today.
Johor deputy police chief M. Kumar said the report also accompanied an Instagram direct message screen grab using the ‘HRH Crown Prince of Johor’ handle.
He said the message was sent out to several others party where the suspect duped his victims into believing that he was the Tunku Mahkota Johor, where he also requested an undisclosed sum of money as payment for a business project.
“Initial investigations revealed that the suspect had impersonated as Tunku Ismail by using the royal’s genuine profile picture from his official Instagram account and doctoring it for another account.
“Following that, the victims were then duped into believing that they were communicating with Tunku Ismail,” said Kumar in a statement here tonight.
This is believed to be the first time where scammers used a fake Instagram account on the pretext of being Tunku Ismail, a senior Johor royal and heir to the state throne, to defraud victims by requesting for money.
At present, Kumar said that investigators have identified eight companies where the message was sent to.
He said the suspect also managed to successfully deceive several companies after they were duped into transferred money in return for securing the business project.
“Police have initiated investigations into the case under Sections 419 and 420 of the Penal Code for cheating by impersonation and cheating,” he said.
Under Section 419 of the Penal Code, those convicted will face a jail term of up to seven years or a fine or both.
Section 420 of the Penal Code provides for a maximum jail term of 10 years and whipping, and a fine if convicted.
Kumar urged the public who had become victims of the latest scam to file reports with the police for a thorough investigation and also in assisting the authorities in identifying and tracking down the suspects.
“Police also advise the public to not be easily duped in such scams.
“The public are also encouraged to verify the particular social media account before they proceed with any transactions,” he said.