Minhang police note rise in telecom scams

Yang Meiping
Nearly 2,500 telecom scams involving 267 million yuan have been handled by police in the district this year so far with victims ranging in age from 9 to 88.
Yang Meiping

Minhang District is becoming safer, with total reports of cases down by 30 percent between 2017 and 2020 according to a report released by the district's police on Wednesday. However, fraud, especially telecom scams, have become a major problem.

The number of fraud cases increased by 29.6 percent over the same period, the report said. 

So far this year, the district police handled nearly 2,500 telecom scams involving 267 million yuan (US$41.8 million). Victims were aged between 9 and 88. About 85 percent of the scams were carried out via the Internet.

Fabricated investment opportunities turned out to be most "expensive" scams with more than 155.88 million yuan involved, followed by "love" scams which involved money accounting for 30 percent of the total cheated out of Minhang residents since the beginning of the year. 

Victims of love scams included a woman cheated by someone claiming to be an American veteran who had served in Afghanistan and wanted to establish a family in China. He faked photographs of being treated in hospital for his injuries. The woman lost a total of 47,000 yuan.

"Middle-aged and old people can also easily fall victim to love scams," said Ning Qijing, a police officer with the anti-fraud center in the district. "This year we received reports of such cases from 11 people aged 50 and above, with the oldest 70 years old. They each lost 210,000 yuan on average."

There were 18 such cases in Pujiang Town, the highest of all places in the district. Hongqiao Town had a case involving 571,000 yuan, the highest amount of money.

Some people sent money to swindlers even after being stopped by police several times. Xinzhuang Town was named the most "stubborn" place in the district, with five people there cheated after being stopped seven times. Their combined losses reached nearly 2.8 million yuan.

Minhang police said they will research the trend of scams in different areas in the district and carry out corresponding actions to prevent residents from falling victim.

Shi Liang, chief of the Gumei Road Police Station, said the Internet had become an important part of people's lives, both young and old, and it was necessary to promote anti-fraud awareness among the public. He and his colleagues had organized 15 livestreams this year, sharing information about scams with local residents. They had been seen by 600,000 viewers.

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