Lumut woman warns public against marketing scam

National 2 minutes, 30 seconds

BELAIT

A WOMAN residing in Lumut has warned of a marketing scam involving cold calling, after almost falling victim to it when she received several calls purportedly from a Chinese marketing company asking her to collect a lucky draw prize.

According to a telephone interview with the woman, who wished to be named only as Uky, she was first contacted on Nov 27 by a lady claiming to be a representative of the Chinese company.

The lady informed Uky that she had won a $200 gift voucher from a local supermarket and was asked to collect it.

“She asked for my name, IC number and date of birth, which I gave. She then sai d they would call me again once they had set up my information to enable me to collect the prize,” said Uky, who is a housewife.

Two days later, the company contacted Uky to inform her that her voucher was ready. However, she was then asked to join a programme by attending a company gathering at a hotel before she could collect her prize.

From what she understood, the programme was a marketing plan that involved recruitment of other members.

“They called to ask why I didn’t attend the gathering on Satuday (November 30) and when I said I was out of town, they called me again half an hour later. This time, the ‘manager’ took over the call from the lady and congratulated me as I had just won a 1kg gold bar,” said Uky, who by this time began to suspect that she was being taken for a ride.

“It sounded too good to be true. If everyone could win a kilo of gold, there wouldn’t be any poor people anymore,” said Uky.

The last call received was on December 1, when the company asked her to visit their next gathering to fill in a form to collect her gold. It is understood that the same company also called Uky’s sister with the same offer. Despite her suspicions, Uky has not gone to the police.

“I only gave them my details so I don’t think they are able to do anything with it but I would like to share my story with the public so that they can be wary,” said Uky.

It is understood that the company called from a Hong Kong-registered line, based on the country code registered on Uky’s mobile telephone call log.

The callers conversed in Mandarin and it was unclear if they themselves were locals. A website URL given to Uky to learn more about the company did not appear to be functioning at the time of reporting.

Uky’s description of events draw similarities to the modus operandi of ‘lucky draw’ scams common in countries such as Singapore and Malaysia where victims are drawn into believing they have won a large prize or sum of money.

The sting concludes when victims are convinced to pay a small sum of money for “legal or processing fees”.

The Brunei Times