MALAYSIA: In sympathy scams, con artists manipulate victims’ emotions in an attempt to illicitly obtain money.
These scams frequently exploit tragic situations, targeting people during their moments of vulnerability.
Recently (31 Aug), a Malaysian man took to Facebook to expose a con man’s lies which aimed to abuse people’s sympathy into giving him money.
Grey-haired Scammer Preys on Motorists’ Sympathy
The incident happened in Puchong, Selangor, where a grey-haired man stopped motorists passing by to play on their feelings of compassion and then asked them for money to pay for a Grab ride home.
The anonymous individual who shared this one-minute video had encountered the same scam artist at various locations in Puchong, both day and night, using the same fabricated story as part of his sympathy scam.
The perpetrator frequently targeted Chinese motorists in the area, using the same tale to solicit funds for a Grab ride home.
As the scam artist approached a car, he said, “I mean no harm, I’m not a bad person; please don’t be afraid. My motorcycle has broken down over there.”
Without waiting for him to finish his story, the man asked the scammer in the video. “I saw you yesterday, you want money to take a Grab ride home?”
Realizing that his deceit had been exposed, the scammer responded with a resigned “Aiyo”.
“Why you take Grab home every day? Why do you scam people?” When asked, the scammer mumbled and walked away.
In the second part of the video, recorded during the day, the scammer claimed that his motorcycle’s key was stuck in the ignition and that his mobile phone battery had died. He requested RM10 (US$2.14) for a Grab ride home to seek assistance.
“I don’t have enough cash, can you help me?” he asked.
The individual in the car replied, “I’ve seen you many times,” and the scammer insisted they had mistaken him for someone else.
The video concluded with the car occupants mocking the scammer, saying, “You want to take a Grab home, again?”
The first part of the video was filmed on Persiaran Indera in Puchong, while the second part took place at 7, Jalan Kenari 2, Puchong, Selangor, in front of a money transfer and currency exchange shop.
Serial con artist
A variation of the sympathy scam is mushrooming to play on victims’ feelings of guilt and compassion.
Whether it is a sense of charity or obligation, people give out thousands of dollars a day to sympathise with con artists in the world. There are those who take advantage of that sense of sympathy and use it for their own.
In the comments section, Facebook user Jess Liu expressed a common sentiment, stating, “No matter what difficulties you face, as long as you are healthy and have intact limbs, you can pursue legitimate employment, unless you have an attitude problem.”
Many other commenters echoed this sentiment.
Another user, Johnny SG Lee, shared his personal experience of falling victim to this con artist at Politeknik, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.
“This fella always lied for RM10 to RM30 for petrol, I already kena (scammed) along the Politeknik PD road,” he said.
It is learnt from the comments that the con man was seen by many at different places in Malaysia.