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Scams and swindles

Elderly Hong Kong woman loses HK$3.8 million in yet another phone scam case

73-year-old woman who received call from people claiming to be mainland law enforcement officials makes police report after passing her bank security device to unknown man

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 July, 2017, 2:42pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 August, 2017, 10:48pm

An elderly Hong Kong woman was cheated of 3.27 million yuan (HK$3.8 million) in yet another phone scam involving con artists from the mainland posing as law enforcement officers.

The city’s police said that the 73-year-old woman had received a call from a woman who claimed to be a law enforcement officer from the mainland.

That woman later transferred the call to a man, who also told the elderly woman he was a law enforcement officer. He told the victim that he suspected she was involved in a criminal case.

The man on the phone then instructed the elderly woman to open a bank account on the mainland. She followed his orders and then transferred a total of 3.27 million yuan to that account through eight transactions.

Hong Kong bank worker, 24, cheated out of HK$2.7 million in phone scam

After the transfers, the elderly woman received a call from another man. That man told her to meet someone on Hennessy Road in Wan Chai district and give him her bank security device.

The victim again obliged. But after the meeting, she felt that she was conned and reported the case to police at 2am on Sunday.

Officers are looking for the man who met the woman on Hennessy Road and took her security device. They said the man was aged between 30 and 40 years old, of Chinese nationality and a Mandarin speaker. Officers also described him as being fat and said he stood at about 1.65m. He was wearing a blue shirt at the time of the crime.

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The case is being treated as one of obtaining property by deception.

In April, a 42-year-old Hong Kong housewife fell victim to the biggest phone scam this year, losing more than HK$10 million to con artists posing as police officers from the mainland.

In the first four months of this year, a total of 279 phone scam cases were reported, two cases fewer than in the same period last year. Of the 279 cases, 217 involved financial losses, which amounted to HK$84.9 million.

The force said earlier that there were more cases of con artists posing as mainland officials this year.

From January to April, 182 cases were related to “mainland officials” demanding money from victims. This figure is a jump of about 20 per cent year on year, with the cases accounting for more than HK$80 million in losses.

During the period, the force said, 59 per cent of the victims who fell prey to fake mainland officials were Hong Kong permanent residents, 31 per cent were students from the mainland and 10 per cent were new arrivals from the mainland.