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November 15, 2011

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Errant text leads to seizure of scamming gang

CITY police seized a gang using text messages to defraud people of money after a police officer received one of the messages.

The gang netted nearly 50,000 yuan (US$8,000) from at least three victims, police said yesterday.

Police were alerted late last month when an officer received a text message advertising the services of "a law firm specializing in bailing out prison inmates."

Similar messages were received elsewhere in the city. Police traced the message senders to eastern Jiangxi Province and three suspects were seized earlier this month, officers said.

Victims, once hooked, were asked to transfer money to bank accounts as directed by the gang, police said. One victim, in Zhejiang Province, was defrauded of more than 40,000 yuan.

However, another two victims refused to talk to police, apparently believing calls from officers were fraudulent, officers said.

Police said they have prevented more than 714 telephone scams in the city this year, involving a potential loss of about 36 million yuan.

Officers warned people to be aware of such traps, often aimed at elderly people living alone. They said cooperation between police and telephone operators will be strengthened.


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