Phone scammers are hitting victims for smaller amounts to avoid detection.
In Hong Kong’s Kwai Tsing district, their target has come down to a few thousand dollars from tens or hundreds of thousands, Apple Daily reported Thursday.
The strategy allows them to bypass scrutiny of any money sent to them by their victims through banks or remittance companies, the report said.
In one instance, a remittance company stopped a transaction after becoming suspicious when an 11-year-old girl tried to wire HK$1,000 (US$129) to a recipient in mainland China.
The girl had been contacted by phone by the swindler who posed as a sick relative needing money for medical expenses.
Scammers have changed their tactics to increase their chances of success amid increased vigilance by the public, the report said, citing a police source.
A total of 114 phone scams were reported in Kwai Tsing district in the first seven months of the year, up 56 percent year on year.
The swindlers succeeded in 29 cases, hauling a combined HK$680,000.
The 25.4 percent success rate was down from 35.8 percent in the same period a year earlier.
In all, the number of reported phone scams in Hong Kong rose to 1,395 in the seven months to July from 1,036 in the same period last year.
The success rate fell to 29.5 percent from 34.5 percent during the period while the scammed amount rose to HK$22.94 million from HK$19.7 million.
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