An 86-year-old man narrowly escaped from being cheated out of HK$20,000 by a phone scammer, thanks to the alertness of some currency exchange shop personnel.
According to a report received by the police, a senior citizen surnamed Chan got a phone call Wednesday morning from a person who pretended to be his son-in-law.
The caller claimed that he had met with an accident during a trip to mainland China and that he needed money urgently.
He gave details of a bank account on the mainland and asked his “father-in-law” to wire HK$20,000 to that account.
The elderly Hongkonger, believing that it was really his son-in-law at the other end of the line, went to a currency shop to exchange and transfer the money, Sing Tao Daily reports.
When the senior citizen, who lives in Shau Kei Wan, gave the China bank account information, an employee of the exchange became suspicious and alerted her manager.
The manager, a person surnamed Lui, inspected the account details and sensed that something was fishy.
Given his long experience of dealing with money transfers, Lui made inquiries with Chan about the purpose of the money transfer.
After hearing Chan’s story, Lui suspected that someone was trying to cheat the elderly man.
He tried to talk Chan out of the wire transfer, but the senior citizen was insisting that he needed to help out his son-in-law.
As this was happening, Chan again received a call from a cross-border number.
Grabbing the opportunity, Lui answered the phone on the elderly man’s behalf and pretended to have wired the money as instructed so that Chan would not be bothered any more.
Inquiries made subsequently with Chan’s daughter helped Lui confirm that the story provided by the caller was bogus. Chan’s son-in-law had not been in any trouble and he had not sought any money.
The police were then alerted about the matter.
Ming Pao Daily quoted Lui as saying that he has been staying alert whenever old people come to wire money, given the many cases of people getting duped by phone scammers.
It is tragic if elderly citizens get conned out of their life savings, Lui said, urging people to remain vigilant against fraudsters.
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