No New Friends: Woman loses nearly RM25,000 to Instagram mates

Another day, another online scam, this one coming to fruition on the photo-sharing platform Instagram after two individuals befriended a Kuantan-area optometrist.

The 38-year-old told police that she met two men on the site, one purporting to be American and the other allegedly British.

After the woman began following the “American,” they became fast friends (who’d have thought!), with the man telling her that he wanted to send her a gift as a token of gratitude for their new relationship. However, last week the woman received a phone call from a person who claimed to work for Kuala Lumpur International Airport, claiming that fees were owed on the parcels sent to her by her new pal (rats!).

The “employee” asked the woman to make a series of payments — which would eventually come to total RM20,500 (US$5,000) — into a bank account between Dec. 6 and 7.

At the same time, another online “friend,” this one allegedly from the U.K., told the woman that he too wanted to send her a gift. Again, however, the woman got a call from authorities asking for cash to be sent to release the goods (boy, they’re really dropping the ball over there at KLIA!).

To release this parcel, the woman sent RM3,500 (US$840) to the account of a person claiming to be a customs officer. However, when the individuals claimed that they needed more funds to be deposited, the woman began to suspect that something was amiss, and contacted authorities.

A police report was lodged, with officers breaking it to the woman that she, like so many before her, had fallen victim to a scam syndicate.

Investigators have said that just yesterday, 23 scam cases were reported at police stations nationwide.

People. PEOPLE. Stop giving money to friends from the internet that you’ve never met. We’ve got mates we’ve known all our lives who STILL won’t pay us back the 50 bucks we spotted them!

This article, No New Friends: Woman loses nearly RM25,000 to Instagram mates, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!