26 October 2016
A woman living in the Island Crest estate in Sai Ying Pun is among the latest to fall victim to phone scammers. Photo: HKEJ
A woman living in the Island Crest estate in Sai Ying Pun is among the latest to fall victim to phone scammers. Photo: HKEJ

Phone scammers con women out of more than HK$4 mln

Two women were cheated out of more than HK$4 million in total in the latest cases of people falling victims to phone scammers.

One of the victims was a 32-year-old lady surnamed Zhang who works as a director of a financial services firm and lives in the Island Crest estate in Sai Ying Pun.

The woman, who moved to Hong Kong from mainland China two years ago, received a call on Monday from someone who claimed to be an officer from the Immigration Department.

According to an Apple Daily report, the person accused Zhang of being involved in a credit card scam case and then transferred the call to another man who claimed to be from Hangzhou police.

The scammers accused Zhang of money laundering and using fake credit cards and asked her to give her bank account numbers and online password to enable an investigation.

Zhang complied with the instructions and later received another call asking her to download some remote access software onto her computer.

The woman did as she was told as the callers convinced her that they were law enforcement officials. Zhang was apparently shown online a warrant bearing her personal details and photo.

She later discovered that scammers hacked into her computer and transferred a sum of 3.37 million yuan out of her bank account.

In another telephone scam case recently, a 59-year-old woman surnamed Tung is said to have lost more than HK$100,000. 

The woman, who is a university professor, informed the police that she received a call from a man who identified himself as an Immigration Department officer.

The caller accused her of involvement in a fraud case in mainland China. As happened in the case of the other victim, Tung’s call was transferred to a person who claimed to be from a law enforcement agency in the mainland.

The woman was then asked to wire a sum of around HK$110,000 to a mainland bank account.

After transferring the funds, Tung discussed the matter with one of her friends who said the whole thing looks suspicious.

It was then that Tung too started having doubts. She took the matter to the police on Wednesday.

Zhang and Tung are the latest in a long list of Hong Kong residents who have fallen prey to phone scammers in the past couple of years.

According to police figures, there were 457 cases of phone scams during the first seven months of 2016. The money involved in the cases totaled HK$113 million.

In 2015, a total of 2,880 phone scams, involving a combined loss of HK$320 million, were reported to the police, according to Ming Pao Daily News.

It marked a 29.7 percent jump in the cases compared to 2014.

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