Shanghai police received 444 reports from the public of telecom scams between Jan. 1 and Feb. 25, up 76.9 percent year on year, Sky Post reported Friday, citing foreign media.
Swindlers in 419 of the schemes, which were carried out by phone or through the internet, got away with more than 70 million yuan (US$11.3 million), 12 times as much as in the same period last year.
A 69-year-old Hong Kong woman living in Shanghai’s Qingpu district was cheated out of 14.82 million yuan in a phone scam between August last year and January.
Another victim, a 29-year-old Canadian woman of Chinese origin, transferred a total of 20 million yuan through the internet between October and February on the instructions of swindlers.
Both women were told they were wanted by the police and were instructed to open online bank accounts and remit the money through them, the authorities said.
Shanghai police said the internet addresses from which telecom scammers operated were based mostly in Taiwan, with others in South Korea and Singapore. All the swindled money was withdrawn in Taiwan, they said.
Shanghai busted 2,840 telecom scams last year, up 1.6 percent year on year, Xinhua reported. The number for the period from Jan. 1 to Feb. 25 this year was 208, up 1.5 percent from a year earlier.
A total of 1,221 suspects were arrested last year, up 42.8 percent year on year. For the January-February period this year, the figure was 118, up 20.4 percent from a year earlier.
Lu Min, deputy director of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, said the situation is getting tougher as the number of scams and the amount involved continue to grow faster than the number of solved cases.
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