19.1 C
New York

Scam posts misuse Kuala Lumpur transit pass image to promote nonexistent ‘free rides’ card

Published:

Rail service authorities in Malaysia’s capital do not sell a “12-month free travel card” for less than 10 ringgit ($2.12), contrary to multiple false posts on Facebook that purportedly sell the “KL TravelPass” at the lower price. The price of the genuine transit pass — which offers a single or return trip on the express train to the city’s airport and unlimited two day rail rides — starts at 80 ringgit.

“Only 3 days left! Get 12 months free travel for RM9.95! The world has never seen such promotions before!” read the caption of a post on Facebook on March 1, 2024.

The post, which has been shared more than 20 times, includes an image of a purported KL TravelPass card that states it grants “12-month free subway rides” in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, and a receipt with the price of 9.95 ringgit.

It also includes an “apply now” button that links to an unrelated online shopping page, which has since been taken down.

<span>Screenshot of the false post, taken on March 21, 2024</span>

Screenshot of the false post, taken on March 21, 2024

Similar false posts promoting the cheap transport cards for Kuala Lumpur were also shared more than three dozen times across Facebook here, here, here and here.

Comments on the posts appear to have been curated to make the offer seem legitimate.

A user whose profile says he is based in Britain said: “We called Kuala Lumpur Metro and Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd today. They confirmed that this promotion is indeed launched online with the support of the government. So, don’t hesitate.”

Another user, who also claims to be based in the United Kingdom, commented with a photo of the purported transit card and wrote: “My wife already has one, thankfully she kept the link, so we applied for a second one. It should arrive in a few days. Meanwhile, here’s a photo of my wife’s card.”

<span>Screenshots of social media users' comments, taken on March 22, 2024</span>

Screenshots of social media users’ comments, taken on March 22, 2024

But checks of the official channels of Kuala Lumpur rail service authorities found no such offer.

No such promotion

Keyword searches on Google found a leaflet about the “KL TravelPass” released by the KLIA Ekspres — the express train service that runs between the Malaysian capital’s city centre to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) — on its official website (archived link).

The leaflet features a similar transit card printed with imagery of Malaysian fruits, but does not include the “12 month free subway rides” text.

The genuine KL TravelPass offers two days of unlimited rail rides around the Klang Valley, along with either a single trip or return trip to KLIA, priced at 80 ringgit or 125 ringgit respectively.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the travel card shown in the false post (left) and the genuine KL TravelPass (right):

<span>Screenshot comparison of the travel card shown in the false post (left) and the genuine KL TravelPass (right)</span>

Screenshot comparison of the travel card shown in the false post (left) and the genuine KL TravelPass (right)

The image shared in the false post has also been doctored.

A reverse image search on Google found the photo featuring commuters waiting on a train platform was published in a Russian blog post about Kuala Lumpur’s subway and monorail system on May 1, 2012 (archived link).

Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the false post (left) and the photo featured on the blog post (right):

<span>Screenshot comparison of the image in the false post (left) and the photo featured on the blog post (right)</span>

Screenshot comparison of the image in the false post (left) and the photo featured on the blog post (right)

Other false posts use photos previously published in local news reports, such as temporary Light Rail Transit (LRT) line disruptions, changes of LRT services and an LRT project (archived links here, here and here).

KLIA Ekspres issued a statement on its official Facebook page on March 4, 2024, urging customers to purchase the KL TravelPass at KLIA Ekspress counters, its app, website or the travel booking platform Klook (archived link).

“It has come to our attention that there are offerings of ‘Metro’ cards featuring ERL’s KL TravelPass at significantly reduced prices. We strongly advise our valued customers to exercise caution, as we are not affiliated with these sellers in any way,” the statement read.

Further keyword searches found RapidKL, one of the city’s public transport operators, offers one-day and three-day unlimited ride passes at 35 ringgit for Malaysians or 45 ringgit for non-Malaysians (archived link).

It also offers a “MY50 Unlimited Travel Pass” that costs 50 ringgit for unlimited rides in Kuala Lumpur for 30 consecutive days (archived link).

AFP has previously debunked a similar scam offering “free subway rides” in the Philippines, with similar posts online linking users to pages that asks for credit card details and consent to make recurring charges of 26 euros (28 dollars) every two weeks.

Related articles

Recent articles

spot_img