Sham Doctor Gets a Dose of Bad Medicine For $10k Scam
The Jakarta Police announced on Friday that they had arrested a man for allegedly swindling several doctors out of Rp 100 million ($10,700) by posing as a top official from the Indonesian Doctors Association.
Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said that the suspect, identified only as B., was arrested with his wife, H., at their home in Wajo, South Sulawesi, on June 2.
B. allegedly impersonated Slamet Budiarto, the secretary general of the association known as the IDI, and sent out text messages to doctors across the country inviting them to an IDI seminar in Bali. The doctors were also given a phone number to contact to receive money for flights and accommodation for the symposium.
“When they called the number, the victims were told to go to an ATM and were unsuspectingly given instructions to transfer funds to certain accounts,” Rikwanto said. The accounts belonged to three other suspects who were also arrested along with B. and H.
“This is a common scam employed by fraudsters who send fake messages to their victims claiming to be a family member in trouble with police or in hospital and needing money,” Rikwanto added.
The victims in this case were then informed that they could pick up their invitations at Slamet’s office. The perpetrators had allegedly prepared official-looking documents with IDI branding for the victims to pick up.
Rikwanto said one doctor transferred Rp 13 million to the fraudsters while another lost Rp 50 million.
The head of the Jakarta Police’s cyber crime division, Comr. Audie Latuheru, said that dozens of doctors were believed to have fallen victim to the scam. He said the suspects had contact details for hundreds of doctors across the country.
“At this stage we only know of five victims, but we suspect there may be more,” he said. “The five that we know of lost a combined total of between Rp 70 million and Rp 100 million.”
Audie said police were looking into how the suspects obtained the doctors’ details.
“We believe they obtained all the information from running searches on the Internet, calling up hospitals and getting the contact numbers by posing as fellow doctors,” he said.