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November 18, 2013

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Expats urged to be alert as telecom scams rise

Following a series of telecom-related scams which have also targeted expatriates, overseas Chinese and gold-collar workers, police are advising people to be alert while also launching a campaign against scammers.

Last week, two expatriates from the Pudong New Area were swindled out of 24 million yuan (US$3.9 million). One of them lost more than 19.9 million yuan within a week, making it the largest scam case in Shanghai in recent years.

Swindlers previously targeted seniors or those with low education background who were easy prey. But off late, they have turned their attention to expats and Chinese returnees as most of them do not have a good understanding of the Chinese law.

Managers and company executives are also being marked out as they are usually confident about their judgment. They have their own circle and have been generally unaffected  by scams till date.

In the recent case, the expatriate told the Pudong police that a swindler claiming to be a Shenzhen Telecom staff told her that a number registered in her name had logged up a huge bill for making international calls. Next, she got a call from a man claiming to be from Guangzhou police, who told her a bank account that was registered in her name was involved in illegal money transfers. She followed the “policeman’s” advise and transferred 19.9 million yuan into a “safe account.”

Fake numbers

With the help of software, swindlers can decide what numbers to show to the person they are making the call to. Police have warned that people  should be alert when receiving calls and short messages from numbers that start from 400 — usually used by big companies and banks and other social service departments.

The frauds include winning lotteries, unspecific transfer requests, unsecured loans, credit card overdrafts and extremely low price on products.


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