Hong Kongers responded with considerable suspicion after receiving a text message from “HK police” warning them to be cautious about scams over the phone. Looks like their work here is done!
According to the SCMP, the message, which was sent by “HK police” but with no number attached, read:
“Police appeal: Be on guard against phone scams!”
“Beware if [you] receive any phone call claiming to be from law enforcement agencies or other organisations, and are asked to provide money, personal details or bank account details. If you suspect you have fallen victim, please contact the police as soon as possible.”
Sounds awfully suspicious to us.
SCMP reports that phone scams are up an astounding 70 percent over the last in Hong Kong, with 2,371 reports received this year compared to just 1,395 during the same period last year. Scammers have already managed to come away with some HK$175.7 million, which is more than six times what they swindled away last year.
Most of the phone scams originiate in the mainland. Earlier this year, we reported on con-artists, all based in the mainland, who managed to cheat 19 Hong Kong victims out of a whopping HK$13 million.
Sometimes these swindlers posed as bank employees or delivery company staff and explained to victims that there had been a problem with their bank account or delivery. In other cases, victims were told to go to fake websites where they would end up typing in their ID card number, bank account number, passwords and more personal information.
While it may seem like common sense to never, ever give your bank account information to somebody over the phone/transfer large sums of money to random accounts, a surprising number of people have fallen prey to these tricks. In 2013, two expats in Shanghai were swindled out of 24 million yuan in the largest telecom scam seen in the city in the past several years.