Avoid Falling For Home Cleaning Scams In Malaysia | Daily Express Online

Avoid Falling For Home Cleaning Scams In Malaysia |  Daily Express Online

In recent months, there have been many reports of Malaysians falling victim to online scams through fake home cleaning services.

These scams target consumers who seek such services, but end up having their bank accounts hacked instead. Victims have lost up to RM20,000 and losses can happen within minutes.

Here’s how some of these scams work. They usually start with an ad on a popular social media platform like Facebook, and these posts are usually similar to those shared by trusted brands.

To attract the customer, extremely low prices are offered for first-time users.

In Recommend.my’s research, over seven different ads for different cleaning companies were identified, all using the same price of RM30 for four hours of cleaning work – an irresistible offer!

Apparently, a new scam Facebook page and its related ads are created once every two to three days. But they are also shut down fairly quickly, within a couple of weeks, which is plenty of time to hurt unsuspecting victims.

All these ads on Facebook will ask you to click a button to start a Whatsapp chat. A “sales representative” will explain more about the RM30 deal and how to order the service, which is usually done by installing their mobile application.

They then provide a link that you can click to download this app. However, what you’re installing isn’t a booking app at all – rather, it’s a scam app that will be able to read your SMS messages.

Essentially, you will have malware installed on your device.

When you launch the app, it will ask you to register a new account. It will then show you an order form to enter the date you want the cleaning job to be done.

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It will then redirect you to a “payment” screen. The credit card option will be unavailable due to supposed “technical issues”, so you are forced to choose FPX online transfer.

After selecting your preferred bank, you will be directed to a fake bank website to enter your username and password. These will of course be sent to the fraudsters, so that they can access your bank account.

When the real banking system sends your phone an SMS one-time password (OTP) for verification, the malware app will intercept it and send it to the fraudsters.

So how do you tell fake cleaning ads from real ones? Here are some things you should look for.

1. How many Facebook followers do they have?

Before clicking on a Facebook ad, click on the business name to view their business page. Make sure the page wasn’t set up just a few days ago and look at the number of followers they have.

A legitimate company that has been in business for a few years will have a lot of posts and would have made an effort to grow their following.


2. Do they have a presence outside of Facebook?

A proper cleaning company will probably have a website with different ways to contact them such as email, phone or WhatsApp.

They may also have a business listing on Google Maps, or a listing in service directories such as Recommend.my, as well as social media platforms. Each of the latter accounts should have recent activity, such as new posts and comments from followers.

They should also have customer reviews if they are listed on Google Maps.

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3. Do they have a proper business registration or SSM number?

Any legitimate business entity will display its SSM number on its website, usually placed in the footer.

An SSM number means that the business has gone through all the necessary and legal processes to be approved by the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

4. Can you pay by credit card?

A proper online home cleaning order form will have multiple payment methods including credit cards, GrabPay, Boost and others.

If you pay by card, always use a credit card instead of a debit card. This is because credit payments are protected by Visa or Mastercard, giving you 90 days to report fraudulent or disputed transactions.

If you use a debit card, the money is withdrawn immediately from your bank account, which makes it very difficult for the banks to get the amount back if it turns out to be a fraudulent transaction.


5. Can you install the mobile app from Google Play or the App Store?

In the scam above, the scammers sent a link for the user to install the ordering app. However, if you have an Android phone or iPhone, you should be able to download these apps from the Google Play Store or the App Store.

If the company sends you an install without google.com or apple.com in the URL, it’s probably a fake app. Also, if it’s not available on either of those platforms, it could mean it was rejected by Apple or Google to contain malicious software.

6. Is it too good to be true?

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If an offer feels like it might be too cheap, it probably isn’t genuine, even if it’s a “first time special” for new customers.

Keep these tips above in mind and you should be able to spot fake cleaning apps and protect your bank account.

This article originally appeared on Recommend.my – Malaysia’s #1 Home Improvement Services Platform, offering a safer and more convenient way to hire the best home improvement and maintenance professionals. From flooring to interior design to air conditioning service, access thousands of the best local contractors and professionals at your fingertips.

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