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Beware of surging phone scams

Beware of surging phone scams

Since the 5th of February, the Judiciary Police (PJ) has received 68 reports of telephone fraud. Among the victims, 8 people incurred losses of nearly 1 million patacas but others had been familiar with anti-fraud information, recognized the trick, and reported the crime in time to avoid loss.

Across these cases, scammers impersonated government officials, telecom employees, customer service representatives from online retailers etc. and called the victim, claiming the victim’s:

  1. Phone number or bank account was involved in a crime;
  2. Identity information had been stolen;
  3. Parcel contained prohibited items;
  4. Court summon had not been signed for;
  5. Post about the pandemic contained false information.

The call was then transferred to a phony Mainland China’s police officer, who accused the victim of participating in a crime and presented the latter with false documents such as fake arrest warrant, freezing injunction, non-disclosure agreement, etc. The victim was required to transfer funds to a “safe account” to comply with “asset check”. Using the excuse of “conducting investigations through video conference”, scammer might also trick the victim into downloading unknown mobile apps and turning on “screen mirroring” function, so that they could snoop into the victim’s online bank account, passwords, verification code and steal money.

As phone scams are on the rise, PJ again issues a police circular to warn the public to take extra precautions and help spread anti-fraud information. Should they encounter phone scam, remember the three rules: “reject”, “hang up”, and “call”.

  1. “Reject” all calls that ask for bank account password, verification code, money transfer or remittance, asset check, safe account, or require the download of mobile apps or enabling screen mirroring.
  2. “Hang up” the phone when caller demands provision of personal information or indicates he or she is conducting an investigation via the phone.
  3. “Call” the Judiciary Police's anti-scam hotline 8800 7777 or crime report hotline 993 when you are scammed, with or without financial loss.
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