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Warning over fire-training scam

THE Shanghai Fire Control Bureau yesterday warned locals, especially small-business owners, of a new scam in which con artists send faxes to local companies, urging them to pay money to attend compulsory fire training.

The faxes say those who do not attend will be fined up to 30,000 yuan (US$4,390).

The bureau said they had received nearly 100 reports on such scams after the new Fire Control Law of China came into effect on May 1.

"We received dozens of calls in a single day, asking whether the faxes were genuine," said Zhou Meiliang, the bureau's media coordinator.

"Swindlers hid their fax numbers, so we haven't managed to trace them yet."

The counterfeit, one-page "emergency notice" requests businesses to send two employees to a three-day fire-prevention training session at the bureau, and to transfer 2,160 yuan to a bank account in order to sign up.

The fax says those who do not comply will have their business licenses suspended and incur fines of between 5,000 and 30,000 yuan.

"They use a fake seal indicating they are the city's fire control bureau, but it's quite ambiguous," Zhou said.

The same notices have been found in Hunan, Guangdong, Shaanxi and Jiang°?su provinces, Tianjin Municipality and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to local media reports.

City police said they haven't found anyone who has fallen for the scam yet.


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