Woman cheated of HK$500,000 in phone-call scam

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 April, 2014, 5:37am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 April, 2014, 8:01am

A housewife has become the latest victim of a telephone scam after she was cheated out of more than HK$500,000 by a con artist posing as her brother-in-law.

The 55-year-old woman paid the money in two deposits to a mainland bank account over two days before she finally realised she had been duped. "Over the telephone, the male caller claimed he was her brother-in-law and needed money urgently to do business," a police officer said.

According to police, the woman received a call from the scammer before noon on Thursday when she was alone at home in San Sang Tsuen on Tin Ha Road in Tin Shui Wai.

Following the scammer's instructions, she then went to a nearby bank and transferred HK$320,000 to the mainland account.

She transferred a second sum of 160,000 yuan (HK$200,800) after receiving a second call yesterday morning.

The woman realised her mistake only at about 1.30 pm when she called her brother-in-law to check.

Detectives from Yuen Long police station are investigating. No one had been arrested last night.

"Do not transfer any money before verification of the identity of the caller … Make up a code word [for family members] to be used in emergencies," police advised the public.

Police figures show reports of deception went up by 8.6 per cent to 7,518 last year from 6,923 in 2012.