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Author Topic: China officials impersonation scams  (Read 1879 times)

Offline ainat

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China officials impersonation scams
« on: September 08, 2022, 11:09:47 AM »
At least 277 people lost over $30m to China officials impersonation scams since January
Members of the public were urged to be mindful of calls with the "+" prefix - indicating an overseas call.
30 Jun 2022

SINGAPORE - At least 277 people here have lost $30.3 million to China officials impersonation scams so far this year, said the police on Wednesday (June 29).

Those targeted would receive voice-recorded phone calls allegedly from the Ministry of Health, the High Court or other government agencies, the police said.

Following the caller's instructions, victims would be directed to scammers claiming to be police officers.

The scammers would inform the victims that they were being investigated for money laundering and other offences, the police explained in the advisory.

They would then direct the victims to provide their personal and bank account information.

In some cases, the scammers would get their targets to open bank accounts and transfer money from their accounts to others, for "police investigations".

The scammers would also get victims to meet unknown subjects to hand over or collect fake documents and instruct the victims to report their movements daily and keep the "investigations" secret.

On May 26, The Straits Times reported on Chinese scammers impersonating Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) officers.

The scammers accused a 16-year-old student of being part of a scam syndicate and instructed him to deposit $53,100 into one of the scammers' bank accounts.

When the teenager failed to raise the sum, he agreed out of fear to cooperate with the scammers' scheme to fake his kidnapping.

The police said that those who fell prey to these impersonation scams would discover they had been duped only when they realised there were unauthorised transactions made from their bank accounts, or when the scammers did not return the money they had transferred for the purported police investigations.

The police emphasised that overseas law enforcement agencies have no jurisdiction to conduct operations, arrest anyone or ask members of the public in Singapore to help with investigations.

The police also said they will never ask people to transfer money into another bank account for investigations.

Members of the public were urged to be mindful of calls with the "+" prefix - indicating an overseas call - and ignore unsolicited calls from individuals claiming to be overseas law enforcement.

The police said that members of the public should never share their Singpass, bank account login details, and one-time password with anyone, including family and friends.

They added that no government agency will instruct payment through a telephone call or other social messaging platforms, or ever ask for personal banking information such as i- banking passwords.

The public were advised to always verify information with official websites and sources and if in doubt, call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before acting.

The annual police crime statistics released in February showed that the number of China officials impersonation scams rose from 442 in 2020 to 752 in 2021.

In 2021, the largest sum lost in a single case was $6.2 million.

For more information on scams, people can visit or call the Anti-Scam Hotline on 1800-722-6688.

Anyone with information on scam activity may call the police on 1800-255-0000 or submit the information online at this website.



Offline ainat

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Re: China officials impersonation scams
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2022, 11:11:57 AM »
He gave his parents' life savings to scammers, thinking they were Chinese police officers
Conmen sent the victim, Albert, documents and even conducted video calls to convince him to transfer $70,000 to them. They later asked for another $130,000.
Nadine Chua | 8 Sep 2022

SINGAPORE - Only 48 hours after he arrived in Singapore to begin his first year for a master's degree in chemistry at a local university, Albert (not his real name) received a phone call from officers claiming to be from the Ministry of Health, that sent him into a panic.

The 24-year-old Chinese national was told he was involved in money laundering activities and the call was subsequently transferred to scammers claiming to be police officers in China.

The conmen sent him official-looking documents and even conducted video calls to convince him to transfer $70,000 to them. The money was from his parents and was meant for his living expenses in Singapore.

They explained that his particulars had been used to open a bank account in China that was involved in money laundering activities and the money was needed for "investigation purposes".

Speaking to the media on Wednesday about the scam that began in late July, Albert said: "I was afraid. They said if I didn't comply, they would come to Singapore to arrest me. I kept thinking, what if it's true? What if they really can do that?"

He said the scammers were firm and authoritative, adding: "It felt real. They sent photos of their police badges and when I saw them through the video calls, they were wearing police uniforms."

Little did he know he had fallen victim to a China official impersonation scam, of which 287 reports were made in the first half of this year, said the police in response to queries from The Straits Times.

The total amount cheated out of victims was $34.6 million, with the largest amount in a single case being $1.8 million.

Last year, 323 reports of this type of scam were made in the first half of the year. A total of 750 cases were reported for the whole of last year, with $106.3 million lost by victims.

While most scam victims do not want to speak publicly about being cheated, Albert said he wanted his story known to warn others that anyone can be vulnerable to scams.

Even after Albert had transferred $70,000 to them, the scammers convinced him they needed more money that would be used to bail him out if he were to be arrested.

"That was when I asked my parents for $130,000. They didn't question me because I'm their only son and they trusted me," Albert recalled.

He transferred his parents' money, which was the majority of their life savings, to the scammers. His father, 54, is a business consultant in the coal industry, while his mother, 53, works as an administrative executive in a school. They live in a city in northwest China.

Throughout the month of August, Albert was in constant contact with the scammers. They called him every day and warned him not to tell anyone about them. In late August, they even convinced him to send a video of himself to aid in their investigations.

The last thing he expected was for that video to be sent to his parents.

"They told my parents I was kidnapped and demanded a ransom from them. They used the video I sent them as proof that they had me," Albert said.

Though in shock, his parents asked their friend in Singapore to make a police report.

"I only realised everything was a lie when the Singapore police found me and told me that I had been scammed. I called my mother after that and she was relieved I was safe. But all the money was gone for good - every single cent," said Albert.

He said he never expected to be a victim of a scam, let alone one that involved his parents and their money.

While he is worried about how he will get by with what's left in his bank account, Albert's biggest concern is his parents.

"I feel so guilty about everything. My greatest regret is that I did not tell my parents what happened from the beginning. They would have warned me that it was a scam, but I chose to keep quiet," he said.

Albert said even though his parents have forgiven him, his relationship with them has soured.

"I call them every day and it has not been easy. There's tension between us and I don't blame them. I just hope they can trust me again."



Offline ainat

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Re: China officials impersonation scams
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2023, 11:43:29 PM »
Chinese student in Singapore rescued from kidnappers in Cambodia after falling for scam
By David Sun | 13 Jun 2023
SINGAPORE: A student from China, who was enrolled in an art college in Singapore, has been rescued from his kidnappers in Cambodia after falling for a government official impersonation scam.

Law enforcement agencies from several countries, including Singapore, were involved in the operation, the Chinese Embassy in Singapore said in a statement on June 10.

It added that the student is safe, but did not disclose his whereabouts, and that his parents did not lose any money in the process.

The student was contacted on June 2 by scammers, who told him that he was wanted by the authorities.

They instructed him to fly to the coastal city of Sihanoukville in Cambodia and go into hiding. But once he arrived there, the scammers held him captive and took a video for his parents.

They then sent the footage to the student’s parents, and demanded a ransom of 3mil yuan (S$562,000) for his release.

The Chinese Embassy in Singapore said after the parents filed a police report on June 4, it contacted the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia to organise rescue efforts with the local police.

It led to an operation involving law enforcement from multiple countries, including Singapore. The Chinese Embassy in Singapore said the student was found and rescued by Cambodian police on June 5, adding that no ransom money was paid.

In the statement, the Chinese Embassy in Singapore also issued an advisory for Chinese students in Singapore to be alert to scams.

It said the Singapore authorities would never ask for their personal information over the phone, adding that they should also never disclose their name, address, family situation or bank details when receiving calls from unknown numbers.

The Chinese Embassy in Singapore said if students do fall victim, or suspect they have fallen victim to a scam, they should contact the authorities immediately.

The incident comes amid a warning by Interpol of a “global human trafficking crisis”, with scammers tricking tens of thousands of victims into human-trafficking schemes in criminal hubs in South-east Asia.

The international police organisation, which issued an Orange Notice on June 7, said victims are kidnapped and detained in inhuman living conditions, and often beaten and sexually abused.

They are also forced into criminal activities, including investment fraud, love scams and frauds linked to cryptocurrency investing and online gambling.

Acting coordinator of Interpol’s Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Unit, Isaac Espinoza, said these syndicates are now targeting the educated.

He said: “These criminal groups are now targeting people who are actually highly qualified, people who have university degrees, who are trained in IT and who are tech-savvy.”

He added that the scam centres are known to be concentrated in Cambodia, but several have also been identified in Laos and Myanmar.

There were 771 cases of government official impersonation scams reported in Singapore in 2022, with more than S$97.6mil lost.

There has also been a significant number of such scams this year, with the police saying in April that at least 62 people had lost some S$6.9mil to government official impersonation scams since the start of the year. – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network