Police cases involving fraudulent telephone calls in Hong Kong rose 16 percent in the first half of the year from the same period last year.
Of the 1,370 cases, the largest category involved swindlers pretending to be mainland officials, Now TV reported.
The number of these cases soared 50-fold to 200 in the first half from just four in the same period last year.
Victims in this category lost a total of 26.79 million yuan (US$4.32 million), compared with 1.08 million yuan in the same period last year, the report said.
In many of these cases, a swindler phones the victim, pretending to be someone from a courier agency, and says a parcel addressed to the victim contains forbidden goods.
Then, another swindler, pretending to be a police officer, phones the victim and says he or she is wanted by the police on suspicion of laundering money.
Victims are usually directed to fake police websites where a fake arrest order is posted with the victim’s name and photo, and then are ordered to make an electronic payment of a deposit for bail.
Police found that in 10 percent of the cases, the victims’ information was illegally obtained by the swindlers in connection with purchases the victims made on the mainland.
Last month, the police dealt with six such cases, involving HK$2.2 million (US$280,000), and arrested a Hong Kong man.
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