Police issue new number to crack down on fraud

Huge increase in number of cases busted by police after potential victims are warned about telecom and online scams.

Shanghai police will use a new phone number — 962110 — from May to alert potential victims of telecom and online fraud and crack down on scams after potential victims are spotted via ways like data analysis. 

The number only receives calls from potential victims who have been contacted by police and bans all other calls automatically to prevent attacks from fraudsters, the Shanghai Telecommunications and Online Fraud Squad said on Wednesday. 

There has been a 248.5 percent surge in telecom and online fraud cases busted by police between January and March 31 compared with the same period last year, and the number of suspects caught rose 283.9 percent, according to police. 

Shanghai police dissuaded potential victims around 20,000 times by phone and face-to-face talks during the period, and 1,756 bank accounts involved were frozen, avoiding direct economic losses of 30.032 million yuan (US$4.6 million). 

A common practice of gangs is pretending to be the telecom operators, express delivery staff or government officials when they dial potential victims for the first time, and they trick potential victims into calling designated numbers with the excuse that their identity cards are being used by others for criminal purposes, police said.  

After potential victims call the numbers, suspects will trick or threaten them into opening bank accounts with the excuse of "assistance in investigation." Suspects will ask them to reveal bank account and password information. 

Police said they will also visit potential target groups such as financial staff at authorities and enterprises to raise their awareness of fraud scams.

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