The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is cautioning its members against falling prey to scams involving fraudulent EPF withdrawals.
The warning comes following an investigation by the EPF that uncovered a number of fraudulent withdrawals and attempted fraudulent withdrawals. These cases also involved the paying out of a large portion of members’ savings to unscrupulous third parties as commission.
“Armed with a common modus operandi, these syndicates would target members who appear desperate and in dire need of money. These members are then coaxed into handing over personal documents such as copies of their identification cards, bank account statements and ATM cards as part of the terms for making the illegal withdrawals," said Nik Affendi Jaafar, Senior Public Relations Manager.
The EPF would like to advise members to notify the EPF or the police immediately when approached by suspicious individuals who offer to help them withdraw their EPF savings under the pretext of specific withdrawals such as housing, education and health withdrawals. Members who wish to apply for EPF withdrawals are advised not to seek any assistance from a third party but to deal directly with the EPF, which does not charge for its services.
"While we realise that there are members who are innocently duped into withdrawing their EPF savings, there are members who purposely resorts to deceitful means to withdraw their retirement savings. We wish to reiterate that fraudulent withdrawals are a serious offence and we will not hesitate to take legal action against offenders under Section 59 of the EPF Act 1991,” said Nik Affendi.
He added that those found guilty of fraudulent withdrawal or attempted fraudulent withdrawal are liable to a maximum jail sentence of three years or a RM10,000 fine, or both.
Members who are convicted who return the amount withdrawn to the EPF within six months from the conviction date may only be allowed to apply for the same withdrawal after two years from the date the amount is returned, while those who fail to return the amount or return the amount after sixth months from the conviction date will forever lose their right to make that particular withdrawal.
In the past, several scams involving education, health and housing withdrawals came to light whereby members had submitted forged documents to facilitate the approval of these withdrawals. These offenders were subsequently charged and taken to court.
“We would like to remind members that their EPF savings are designed for their financial security during their retirement years and that they should not get involved with syndicates to deplete their old-age savings prematurely, whatever the circumstances. At the end of the day, safeguarding members' savings and their future remains the EPF's main objective," concluded Nik Affendi.
About the Employees Provident Fund (EPF)
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is Malaysia’s premier retirement savings fund to help its members achieve adequate savings for a comfortable retirement. This is in line with EPF’s vision to help members achieve a better future and the mission to safeguard members’ savings and deliver excellent services. The EPF has evolved significantly from transaction-centric to a professional fund management organisation with a strong focus on retirement security. The EPF is guided by a robust and professional governance framework when making investment decisions. It continues to play a catalytic role in the nation’s economic growth and seeks to cultivate a savings and investment culture among its members to improve the country’s financial literacy level.