Over 21 million Malaysian cellphone numbers scammed

KUALA LUMPUR, 6 April 2023:

Cellphone numbers of over 21 million people in Malaysia have been leaked or sold to scammers, according to the ‘Gogolook 2022 Annual Fraud Report’ published in collaboration with the Constella Intelligence, an international digital risk protection service provider.

In a statement, Gogolook said 73% of cellphone numbers here have been compromised – resulting in Malaysia being ranked first in cellphone numbers breached as of last year – after an analysis of private information leakage and upstream operations in the scam industry chain across Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Korea and Malaysia.

“The top private information leaks are login passwords and names for Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand, followed by address, country, date of birth, and email leaks. The danger of personal data breaches for login passwords may lead to stolen online banking or social network accounts.

“When scammers get access to names, phone numbers, and even payment and shopping records, they can easily initiate phone and message attacks. If names and addresses are leaked, people may soon receive ‘unsolicited packages with payment requests on arrival’.”

Gogolook said it has identified over 405.4 million scam calls and messages that took place globally in 2022. Results also showed that scammers prioritise text messages for high penetration rates due to its low costs feature which contributed to 76% of messages being used as the ’first contact’ in fraud cases.

“To fight against fraud effectively, Malaysia deployed new reporting systems through its National Scam Response Centre where the public can report fraud cases by dialing the hotline 997.

“Recently, the Royal Police Malaysia (PDRM) has also collaborated with Whoscall to enhance the fraud number database. The collaboration involves fraud number database sharing from PDRM CCID portal to Whoscall data system making it the most updated and reliable caller ID application for Malaysians to protect themselves against fraud crimes.”

Separately, CIMB Bank Bhd and CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd have introduced since March 2023 mandatory SecureTAC authorisation through its CIMB Clicks App for all transactions of RM100 and above.

In a statement, the banks said: “This is part of the Bank’s migration exercise to SecureTAC to completely replace SMS TAC authorisations by mid-2023.”

This measure is part of a planned series of additional measures to combat financial scams, in line with Bank Negara Malaysia’s directive to strengthen online banking security.