ANY efforts to introduced cashless society in our country will not able to eliminate entirely crime relates to money like money laundering, embezzlement, corruption, and others as criminal will continue to find ways to carry out their criminal activities regardless the method of transaction we adopted.

There is also a fear that our society will be expose to new kinds of criminal activities involving online financial transactions if we rush with the plan to turn our society into cashless society.

Cashless society describes an economic state whereby financial transactions are not conducted with the use of conventional money in the form of physical banknotes or coins, but rather through the transfer of digital information usually through electronic representation of money between the transacting parties.

Cashless societies have existed from the time when human society came into existence, based on barter and other methods of exchange, and cashless transactions have also become possible in modern times by using digital currencies such as cryptocurrency or bitcoin.

With the coming of new communication technology like smartphone, our daily activities has tremendously change.

Almost every day we had to rely on our smartphone to do and perform our job including doing financial transaction.

Though this new technology and the efforts to make our society as cashless society might see well by many but it will open another risk to the people.

There have been many criminal activities which involve cybercrimes in today’s world.

Very important for us to know that cybercrime is vastly growing in the world of tech.

Criminals of the World Wide Web exploit internet users’ personal information for their own gain and interest.

Among the well-known cybercrimes associated with online financial transaction includes bank fraud, carding, identity theft, extortion, and theft of classified information.

A variety of internet scams, many based on phishing and social engineering has target many consumers and businesses all over the world including Malaysia.

Cybercrimes are at an all-time high, costing companies and private individuals billions of dollars annually all over the world.

The evolution of technology and increasing accessibility of smart tech means there are multiple access points within users’ homes for hackers to exploit.

While law enforcement attempts to tackle the growing issue, criminal numbers continue to grow, taking advantage of the anonymity of the internet.

From January to October 3 last year, 8,313 cybercrime cases were reported to Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID), Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) with the victims fleeced of almost RM300 million.

Throughout 2017, 10,203 such cases were reported, involving losses of about RM184.2 million.

Most of the scams reported are categorised as telecommunication fraud (including Macau scam), e-financial fraud, 419 scam (also known as love scam or African scam) and e-commerce fraud. Other types of cybercrime include online fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft and data hacking.

As such, we should not be rush in making our society into a cashless society.

The matter must be plan properly and be done into stages.

The first step which need to be taken is to educate our society over all the potential risk in using online transaction.

People need to be trained on safety and security over the use of any online transaction which been offered to them.

Secondly, the government must ensure all the existence laws in the country is suitable and effective enough to deal with all the problems pertaining to cybercrimes.

Thirdly, our enforcement officers must be fully ready when the society has started to become fully cashless society as problems will come whether they like it or not and such problem need to be tackle effectively by the enforcement officers.

Whatever steps which we want to take, our society must be prepared before being pushed into a cashless society.

*Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow is Senior Lecturer at Faculty of Syariah & Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM)

**The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.