Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Getting Duped on Call

Beware of mainland Chinese people calling to cheat you out of your money!
How did Hong Kong people get duped out of HK$85 million ($10.9 million) this month?

Apparently there are con artists posing as Chinese mainland officials from the Beijing liaison office, mainland Chinese police, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, banks or couriers.

They usually said they had broken mainland laws and were listed as wanted by the authorities. The victims -- 263 of them so far this month -- were told to prove their willingness to cooperate by transferring money to mainland bank accounts.

In the first 28 days of this month, another 466 similar fraud attempts were unsuccessful, making it a total of 729 telephone scams.

Lo Hung-mung says there were 263 victims this month
"It is three times [the number] of similar reports recorded in the first six months of this year, said Lo Mung-hung, director of crime and security.

The police say there were 200 cases involving HK$26.7 million in the first six months of this year, and only four such cases last year.

Obviously the number of scam calls has risen, and many more have taken the bait.

As a result, the Hong Kong authorities are setting up a task force led by the Kowloon East crime unit this month with mainland ones to share intelligence.

While Lo believes key figures in the scams are not in Hong Kong, he says their accomplices are in the city.

He added mainland police are also facing the same problem, with more than 10,000 cases reported in Guangdong province.

"Our lines of investigation will focus on telephone numbers culprits used to call and bank accounts where victims were asked to deposit money," he said.

Some calls showed the number of the liaison office in Western
Why reveal the investigation tactics so that the scammers will change them?!

Apparently when some scammers called, they used software that could fraudulently display the call number of the liaison office's main line, and so Lo said the police were working with the Communications Authority to try to end the practice.

How many other companies or individuals are using this same software to deceive others?

It would be interesting to hear what the conversation with the con artist was like, as it's hard to believe a Hong Kong person would be willing to help a stranger over the phone, let alone a mainlander, and a government official who was in trouble with the law.

I once received a strange phone call from someone who claimed to be my "uncle" in Guangzhou who called me out of the blue. By the way his number is +86 186 8046 2853.

Perhaps my chances of being tricked out of money is relatively slim as I answer the phone in English and many people hang up right away -- even telemarketers.

Never knew English was so scary.

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