Date
29 May 2017
A police TV program urges citizens to stay alert and not disclose any personal details when they receive suspicious phone calls. Photo: RTHK
A police TV program urges citizens to stay alert and not disclose any personal details when they receive suspicious phone calls. Photo: RTHK

Housewives favorite targets of phone scammers, police say

One in five victims of phone scams in Hong Kong are housewives as con artists usually call their targets in the morning when housewives are home alone, police said.

Police Superintendent Chau Hin-hung of the Crime Kowloon East Regional Headquarters said 73 percent of the 417 victims who lost money to phone scam artists this year received the calls between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Of the victims, 22 percent were housewives, 20 percent were in the services sector, 17 percent were students while 5 percent were retirees, Ming Pao Daily quoted Chau as saying.

Eight percent of the victims were corporate managers while 6 percent were professionals, including doctors and engineers.

In terms of age, 22.8 percent of the victims were between 20 and 30, 13.4 percent were below 20 while 13.2 percent were 60 or above.

A total of 1,123 phone scam cases were reported to the police from the beginning of this year until Aug. 13.

In July alone, 838 phone scame cases were reported, with 308 involving losses of more than HK$120 million (US$15.47 million).

While only 85 cases were reported in the first 13 days of this month, 39 of the victims had been cheated out of a combined HK$56.72 million.

The victims include “King of Erhu” Wong Kwok- tong, 76, and his soprano wife Li Yuen-yung who lost HK$22.8 million to phone scammers. 

The con artists identified themselves as either a Hongkong Post executive or a mainland official.

No arrests have been made so far and none of the swindled amount has been retrieved.

Chau urged citizens to stay alert and not disclose any personal details when they receive suspicious phone calls.

Many of the swindlers pretend to be officials of Hongkong Post and China Travel Service (Hong Kong), he added.

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TL/AC/CG

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