AKPK’s Scam Alert: Third Party Agent – Don’t Be Duped – Part One

By Gunasegaran Munusamy
Head, AKPK JB Branch

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Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) wishes to inform the public that AKPK has never appointed any third party agents or charged a fee for its services. All individuals can come directly to AKPK for its financial counselling and debt management services for free of charge. Should anyone be approached by individuals claiming to be an agent of AKPK and are offering his or her service for a fee, we would like to alert the general public that it is a fake agent who has no authority to act on behalf of AKPK.

AKPK was established by Bank Negara Malaysia as a wholly-owned subsidiary in April 2006 to provide 3 services which are Financial Education, Financial/Credit Counselling and Debt Management Programme (DMP). Financial counselling and Debt Management Programme are services provided for free to individuals by AKPK, without the use of any third party agent.

Over the years AKPK has received numerous reports and feedback from customers of being approached by certain individuals claiming to be representatives or agents of AKPK offering to help them restructure their debts through AKPK’s Debt Management Programme (DMP). Some of the customers were wise enough to check with AKPK first and avoided being scammed by these agents but many others were not so lucky and have incurred losses. There are also third parties soliciting money from individuals in debt as payment to restructure or reschedule their debts by referring them to AKPK.

In terms of their modus operandi, usually these agents would make a phone call or send SMS to the customer to offer their services. Individuals who are in some kind of financial mess and in dire need of assistance would be more vulnerable and are more likely to be convinced that the agents can help them. Scammers always prey on people’s feelings and emotions. The agent will then tell the customer that payment in advance is required first before processing can start. Some may ask for as much as 10% – 20% of the total loan value.

After the payment is made, the agent will then assist the customer to submit a DMP online application to AKPK and book an appointment for counselling. It is usually at the counselling stage that the customer realises he or she has been duped after finding out that AKPK’s services are free and AKPK does not appoint any third party agents. By then it is too late as they have already parted with their money and in some cases the agent has already disappeared. They have paid money for a service which they can actually get for free. It’s a double financial blow to someone who is already in a stressful financial situation.

Besides third party agents, there are other types of financial scams which victims have fallen prey too especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, after the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package was launched and financial assistance given to those in need during the Movement Control Order (MCO), it has been observed that there was an increase in cases of financial scams or frauds reported to the authorities. Scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and related government aid to dupe people into parting with their money.

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