A 72-year-old Hong Kong woman is said to have been cheated out of HK$3 million (US$387,015) in the latest case of a telephone con job by people posing as mainland Chinese officials.
The lady, who bears the surname Chan, lives with her family in City Garden housing estate in North Point, Apple Daily reported.
According to the police, Chan first received a call from a man who spoke Mandarin and identified himself as an employee of an express delivery company. The man told her that fake documents were found in one parcel sent by her.
Then the call was transferred to another man who claimed to be a public security official in Shanghai. He said the documents pointed to involvement in a money laundering case in the mainland and that she was under investigation.
Later several fabricated arrest warrants were faxed to her. She was then instructed to transfer HK$3 million to a mainland bank account to help resolve the case.
Rattled, the lady followed the instructions and transferred the money.
But later she began to suspect that she might have been swindled, and informed her family about the matter.
The case was then reported to the police on Sunday, adding to the statistics of burgeoning phone scams in the city.
Police records show a total of 1,123 phone scam cases were reported from the beginning of this year until Aug. 13. As many as 417 people were said to have lost money due to the scams.
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.
To prevent swindlers from passing off overseas phone numbers as local ones, the Communications Authority and telecom service providers have begun cooperating to ensure the addition of “+” in caller number displays to alert people to non-local calls.
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