Phone fraudsters are continuing to prey on Macao residents, scamming hundreds of thousands of dollars by pretending to be police officers or health officials.
Judiciary Police (PJ) spokeswoman Leng Kam Lon said that five locals reported last week that they had fallen for “fake police” scams.
Leng said that the five victims all received calls from “mainland Chinese police” claiming that they had breached mainland China’s laws and were required to provide their personal information and/or deposit money into certain bank accounts. The victims told the police that they lost between HK$11,200 and HK$726,000 each, Leng added.
In a separate case, a local woman in her thirties received a call on 30 June from a fraudster claiming that he was a staff member of a pick-up point. The scammer then told her that her parcel contained Covid-19 medicine.
Leng noted that later a “police officer” called the woman and claimed that her parcels had been confiscated and she was required to travel to Guangzhou for interrogation. The woman then told the scammer that she could not travel due to the Covid-19 situation, Leng said, adding that the scammer replied that he “empathised with” her circumstances and agreed to “handle the case” in a video call.
Leng added that the scammer showed the woman her personal information and a criminal arrest warrant to make it look real.
Leng said that the “police officer” then asked her to submit her bank account number, as well as related passwords and verification codes on the website provided by the scammer. The scammer also demanded a “funding review” and a “security deposit”, for which the woman borrowed money from her family to deposit the money into the bank account.
Leng said that after the woman deposited the money, she did not receive any feedback from the “police”. Realising that she might have been duped, she reported the case to the PJ on 29 July, saying that she had been defrauded out of HK$726,000.
Meanwhile, Leng said that a similar case was reported to the police involving a woman receiving a call from a staff member of the “health department in mainland China” on 23 June. The scammer also told her that her parcel contained Covid-19 medicine. The victim fell for the story and reported to the police on 29 July that she had been cheated out of HK$600,000, said Leng.
In order to prevent fraud, Leng urged the public to remain vigilant at all times to prevent unscrupulous characters from taking the opportunity to obtain personal information to defraud their victims. Leng also warned of the ever-changing tactics of fraudsters, and underlined that residents should never provide any personal and bank information to “mainland [China’s] police” through websites and mobile apps, The Macau Post Daily reported.