Hazlini Harun and her husband Abdul Rahman Fakhri Fadhil Al Bayati ran a restaurant but were forced to close shop last September after the latter suffered a heart attack.
It was a difficult time for the family.
Through a neighbour, Hazlini, signed up for what she thought was a legitimate income stream last October – investing in various websites and earning money daily, supposedly via Google Adsense. All that was needed was simply downloading a mobile application called OPS.
“My husband, my son, and I invested in several websites, and we were enjoying daily returns. I spent RM60,500 and only received RM28,070 in return, while my husband lost RM155,000,” said Hazlini, 52, who met Twentytwo13 yesterday.
“We had uplines and they all made money. The Malaysian company behind the mobile application is registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia, with its office at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) in Kuala Lumpur.”
Records show that the company was incorporated on Jan 1, 2023, and had a foreigner as its director.
“An OPS Google WhatsApp group was created for those who had invested in the scheme. On Jan 5, the mobile application stopped functioning. On the same day, at 11.58pm, we received a message from the group administrator, named ‘Olivia’, saying that the WhatsApp group would no longer be available, and for them to contact the administrator for the latest group link. However, no one has responded to our phone calls and messages since. We’ve been left in the dark,” she added.
Hazlini and her husband lodged police reports at the Damansara police station on Jan 7 and Jan 6 respectively. She and several others, named the company in their reports.
The victims, in a separate WhatsApp group, listed down their losses, which were between RM100 and RM155,000.
Twentytwo13 tried to reach out to the 'administrators' including ‘Olivia’, ‘Jeannie’, and ‘Rachel’ but to no avail. It is also understood that an individual, who claimed to be the former secretary of the alleged company, had lodged a police report on Jan 8, denying his involvement any “scam investment”.
It is believed that 261 people have lost a total of RM3.06 million of their savings. Ninety-three police reports have been lodged nationwide – including in Puchong and Jeram in Selangor, Lumut (Perak), Kubang Semang (Bukit Mertajam, Penang), and Labuan – since the first week of January. Twentytwo13 sighted several of the police reports.
Labuan police, in a statement yesterday, confirmed it received 15 police reports since early this month, including from civil servants, who had collectively lost RM203,507 to the so-called online advertisement tool.
“There are so many more who have fallen victim. They include professionals and even a former accountant. Some have not lodged police reports.
“There is this guy who is the so-called leader of the group, and he claims that he too, had been scammed,” Hazlini added.
She said she was informed by the investigating officer in her case that due to the high number of reports lodged, the case would be referred to the Federal police.
She added some of the victims are set to meet representatives from Google Malaysia on Monday.
Hazlini isn’t alone, as 16 of her neighbours from a condominium in Damansara Perdana, Selangor, had also fallen victim to the operation.
One of them is Nurellena Teh Abdullah, a 51-year-old homemaker and mother of one. Nurellena said she joined the “scheme” as many before her had made a decent income daily.
“I too, started in October, and my initial investment was RM1,000. I got back RM600 but a day before the mobile application was shut down, I invested RM6,000 and now I’ve been left hanging,” said Nurellena.
“The amount I lost is small compared to many others but it’s about principle. People can’t be allowed to go out there and cheat others. I truly hope others will not fall victim, and the culprits will be brought to justice,” she added.
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