Beware of top 10 telecom and online scams

Police said they have prevented 97 million yuan from being transferred to scammers since its Telecommunications and Online Fraud Squad started to operate last July.

Shanghai police said on Thursday that since its Telecommunications and Online Fraud Squad began operating last July, they have prevented 97 million yuan (US$15 million) from being transferred to telecom and online scammers.

Ti Gong

In an concerted effort with telecom companies and banks , the squad is able to detect scammers calling potential victims.

Squad members then warn the potential victims about the scam as well as freezing money transfers as soon as possible before the proceeds reach the scammers.

Police said they have sent short messages to or called up over 120,000 people in the past 12 months to prevent them from falling into the hands of the scammers.

As a result, the number of telecom and online fraud cases during the period was down 38 percent with fraudulent money gains down 36 percent to 920 million yuan from the previous 12 months, police said.

Meanwhile, the number of such cases solved was reported to be up 74 percent at 5,570, with the number of suspects caught up 20 percent at 1,657.

Police have also published a "top 10" of current  telecom and online frauds.

  • The scammer claims to be the boss of a potential victim and asks him or her to transfer money to the boss as gift money to clients.
  • The scammer claims to be working for the police, a procuratorate or a court and tells victims that they are involved in a case and are being hunted. The victim is asked to transfer money to a “safe account” for investigation.
  • The scammer knows that the victim has insurance claims after being involved in a traffic accident and claims to have a fast track for him to be given compensation.
  • The scammer sends a scam SMS message with a fake number of a bank customer service and a link to a fake website, and tells the victim to go to an ATM to transfer cash to resolve the situation.
  • The scammer claims to be from customer service of an online shop and tells the victim that his order can’t be delivered. The victim is asked to enter his bank card information on a scam website so as to complete the refund process.
  • The scammer steals the WeChat account of a friend of the victim’s and claims to be in need of money for emergency purposes.
  • The scammer steals the WeChat or QQ account of the victim’s child and claims to be in urgent need of money at school for extracurricular courses.
  • The scammer contacts a job seeking victim on job sites and gives them reward money for laying orders at online shops, an act which could boost popularity of the shops, but the scammer goes out of touch after the victim pays for an expensive product with the money actually ending up in the scammer’s pocket.
  • The scammer calls the victim and plays pre-recorded crying sounds, claiming to hold the victim’s child and demanding a ransom.
  • The scammer claims to be a bank clerk and tells the victim that his credit card will be frozen due to an unsettled debt. The victim is told to reveal credit card information to the scammer who uses the information to go online shopping.

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