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December 7, 2012

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Newcomers, rootless vulnerable to telecom scams

RETURNED overseas Chinese, people who often move between different residences and workaholics with small groups of friends are the most likely to fall victim to growing telecom scams, police said yesterday.

Shanghai police said they had handled nearly 52 percent more telecom scam cases in the first 11 months this year, with 774 suspects nabbed.

Also, 4,634 scam attempts were interrupted, involving 240 million yuan (US$38.5 million), police said.

Suspects usually call and pose as cops or bank clerks, asking the victims to transfer money to a "secure account" as they incurred credit violations, police said.

Perpetrators take advantage of workers who are eager to make more money and send it home, officers said. Police said the workers, usually young, "lack social experience even though they are familiar with new stuff like the Internet."

In March, eight suspects were detained by the Pudong New Area police for telecom fraud in the name of a "maternity allowance delivery." After 40 days of investigation across Shanghai and Fujian, Yunnan, Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces, the police finally busted the ring in the city of Xiamen.

Shanghai police produced short videos with cartoons of celebrities to warn of the scams by playing them on more than 320,000 screens covering buses, Metro lines and commercial buildings.

Banking workers across the city also have been trained to work with police to stop the victims from transferring money to strange accounts.

Police said they will strengthen the alerts to returned overseas Chinese door to door to prevent such crimes.


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