90-year-old Hong Kong woman had the equivalent of 27 million euros stolen by thugs posing as Chinese security agents, police said, the highest damage to date in a single scam telephone in the former British colony.
In Hong Kong, the elderly are often the target of crooks who take advantage of their vulnerability to force them to make transfers or questionable investments.
This time, the victim was a 90-year-old living in Peak, the city's most upscale neighborhood, located on one of the mountains overlooking the island, police said on Tuesday.
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Her tenant owes her more than 31,000 euros, she lives in a motorhome
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The crooks contacted the lady last summer, posing as officials from the Chinese security services, and telling her that her identity had been fraudulently used in a criminal case in mainland China.
They told her that she should make transfers to accounts held by the pseudo investigators, to protect her fortune and for investigative purposes, the
South China Morning Post
citing police sources.
Police said several days later, a person came to the victim's home to hand him a phone and a SIM card with which to communicate with suspected security officers who then persuaded her to make 11 transfers. banking.
Over a period of five months, the lady wired a total of 250 million Hong Kong dollars (27 million euros), the largest sum ever stolen from Hong Kong in a phone scam.
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Police said the scam was only discovered after the 90-year-old's maid contacted her daughter with her suspicions. A 19-year-old man was arrested for fraud and released on bail, police said. The SCMP reports for its part that it would be the man who had given the phone to the old lady. Hong Kong police say such scams, often committed from mainland China, are on the rise. Complaints relating to this type of business thus increased by 18% in the first quarter of 2021.