Police smashed a syndicate that broke into the computer systems of a local bank and an airline, stealing credit card points and frequent flyer miles accumulated by their customers, Sky Post reported Friday.
Three males and one female aged between 14 and 45 were arrested in an operation conducted Wednesday by members of the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau in various places in Hong Kong. Four computers, four mobile phones and several stolen goods were seized.
Police said they were acting on multiple reports from citizens between December and early January, who said credit card points and frequent flyer miles in their accounts were redeemed by unknown individuals for various reward items.
The gifts included air tickets, tablet computers, supermarket cash coupons, tickets for theme parks and theaters, as well as prepaid cards for online shopping.
Investigation showed that the suspects illegally logged in to the victims’ accounts and redeemed gifts worth more than HK$140,000 (US$18,000).
Among those stolen were credit card points from 34 accounts, which were used to acquire items worth HK$100,000, and 860,000 frequent flyer miles from 14 accounts exchanged for gifts worth HK$44,000.
The suspects will be charged with conspiracy to defraud and handling of stolen goods.
Police reminded citizens to be careful of their personal data and to check the transaction records of their accounts regularly, noting that thieves only need basic personal data, which they could easily get from social websites such as Facebook, to gain access to their intended victims’ accounts.
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