Australian company hails Shanghai police as scam money recovered
Thanks to Shanghai police, an Australian company that had almost lost US$860,000 to e-mail scammers got the money back on Wednesday.
The company’s financial personnel transferred the money to a scam account after receiving an e-mail which they mistakenly assumed was from the company’s managing director, demanding funds for a business merger, police said.
Police at the Free Trade Zone in Shanghai received a report of the case since the scam account, which was an offshore bank account, was opened at a Shanghai Pudong Development Bank branch.
In the end, the account was frozen before the money could be withdrawn by the scammers.
Though the case happened in August 2016, police said the money was withheld for a long time before it could be returned to the company’s account because it was an international transfer.
Paul Vine, company secretary of the Australian company “IOOF,” traveled to Shanghai from Australia this week to express the firm's gratitude to Shanghai police.
Vine recalled that the company had almost lost hope of getting the money back before engaging Shanghai police as SPD Bank told them that it could freeze the money for only 48 hours.
A lawyer based in Shanghai, who was hired by the company to handle the case, reported it to the police six hours before the money was to be released to the scam account, and the police prepared all the required paperwork for the case in time, which allowed the bank to extend the money-freeze period.
“Our company and each person who was involved in this fraud case have been moved by the very responsible work attitude of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone police and the helpful legal environment in Shanghai,” Vine said.
Zheng Lei, the police officer who handled the case, said the legal steps taken to extend the freezing of the money wouldn’t have been so efficient were it not for the close collaboration between Shanghai police and local banks in combating telecom and internet frauds.
Zheng said he turned to the “Telecommunications and Online Fraud Squad” of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau for help in this case.
The squad was officially established in July 2016 and has a quick reaction mechanism with telecom operators and banks.
Zheng revealed that investigation of the case is still under way, and the person behind the scam account which belonged to a company registered overseas has been arrested.