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May 13, 2013

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Police warn residents of rise in telecom scams

POLICE warned residents not to transfer money to strangers when they call and say a family member is sick or just had an accident and is in surgery as more telecom scams have been reported recently.

Police said the perpetrators keep improving their scams to stay ahead of police, noting that callers now speak better Mandarin.

In the past, the callers often had strong southern accents.

"Whatever they say, they will ask you to transfer money to their account at the end," an officer told Shanghai Daily at the annual anti-telecom scam event on Nanjing Road E. yesterday.

"Don't transfer money to them," the officer said.

Shanghai police listed three ways to prevent being cheated: hang up if the call is a voice recording, hang up and call back if they claim to be government officials or police officers, or, call the police hotline 110.

With banks cooperating with police, authorities have stopped 1,227 telecom scams this year, preventing criminals from getting more than 60 million yuan (US$9.8 million), police said.

In a recent case, Yangpu District police stopped a woman from transferring 400,000 yuan to a man claiming to be a police officer from Beijing.

The woman, surnamed Dong, was told her account was involved in a money laundering case by a man claiming to be officer Li from Beijing's economic crimes investigation division.

She hung up at first, thinking it "was impossible." But when she checked the number of the caller, she was shocked that it matched.

The caller phoned back and Dong started to believe the man's story. She went to a bank nearby to transfer 400,000 yuan to the "safe account" provided by the caller.

The bank's staff, who noticed there was something "wrong," called police in time to stop the transfer.


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