Wong urges residents to avoid becoming fraud victims, says received several fraud calls

2023-11-27 03:36     BY Tony Wong    Comment:13

Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak has urged residents to stay vigilant against the risk of becoming fraud victims in view of the fact that most phone and online frauds have been conducted in “old” modi operandi, reminding residents not to believe scam callers even though they appear to be in possession of their personal information.

Wong noted that nowadays people purchase many goods and services online because of which it is easy for fraudsters to illicitly obtain a large amount of personal information, saying that he had also received several fraud calls and that some of the callers even mentioned his full name. 

Wong made the remarks during a one-day Q&A session in the Legislative Assembly’s (AL) hemicycle on Friday about his portfolio’s policy guidelines for next year.

Fraud victims lose 215 million patacas from Jan to Sept

Wong said that victims of fraud cases recorded in Macau during the first nine months of this year lost a total of 215 million patacas, while during the same period fraud victims in Hong Kong and Singapore lost money equivalent to around five billion patacas and three billion patacas respectively.

Comparatively, Wong said, the total amount of money that fraud victims in Macau lost was relatively small compared to Hong Kong and Singapore.

According to Wong, Macau recorded 1,640 fraud cases during the first nine months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 672 cases, or 69.2 percent up. According to Wong, 273 of the 1,640 frauds were phone scams, while 599 were online frauds.

More and more highly educated fraud victims

Wong underlined that most of the phone and online fraud cases recorded in Macau have been conducted in “old” modi operandi. However, Wong said, some victims mistakenly thought that they were “too clever to be defrauded”, and it was the over-estimation of their abilities that caused them to be swindled by fraudsters.

Wong said that in the past, most fraud victims were those with a low education level, adding that nowadays more and more of the fraud victims are those with a high education level. Wong also said that nowadays “quite a few” scam victims are those with a master’s degree or even those with a doctoral degree.

According to Wong, fraud victims with a high education level mistakenly thought that they could not be duped by fraudsters because of which many of them did not pay attention to anti-fraud information released by the government, and that’s how they ended up becoming easy prey. Wong said that he was “saddened” by such a situation.

Wong also said that some of the fraud victims in Macau had even become fraudsters themselves after having been cheated by the initial scammers, as they were persuaded to defraud other people as a way of showing their commitment after they were promised that they could get back their lost money. Wong said that he was “very saddened” by such a predicament. 

Wong tells scammer “arrest me”

Wong said that he had also received several calls from scammers. Wong said that earlier this year, when he was about to attend a committee meeting of the legislature, he received a call from a grifter claiming that he was an officer from Fuzhou, the provincial capital of Fujian province.

According to Wong, the caller told him to cooperate with an investigation because his smartphone had sent many fraud messages. According to Wong, he told the caller to stop his fraudulent activities, after which the former told Wong that he was going to send someone to arrest you.

According to Wong, he told the crook to “come here and arrest me”, after which the caller hung up.

Wong said that the fraudster was able to mention his full name and phone number, but he obviously did not know that “I am the secretary for security”.

According to Wong, before that he had received a scam call during which he talked to and told off the caller for over 10 minutes.

Wong underlined that even though a fraudster may be able to reel off the potential victim’s personal information, people should not easily believe what the caller says. Wong asked rhetorically: “Why do you believe [the caller claiming that you are involved in something illegal] if you have never done anything wrong”.

Wong reaffirmed that police officers all over the world never carry out crime investigations in such a way.

Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak addresses Friday’s Q&A session about his portfolio’s 2024 policy guidelines in the Legislative Assembly’s (AL) hemicycle. – Photo: GCS

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