Woman falls victim to social networking trap: police

2018-05-08 08:00     Comment:0

A local woman has fallen victim to a social networking trap, losing a total of HK$393,000 in cash between February and April, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Ho Chan Nam said during a routine press conference in Zape yesterday.

According to Ho, the victim is a widow in her fifties, who works as a valet. He didn’t reveal the victim’s surname.

Ho said the victim met a male named Steve online on a social networking platform. Later on they became online friends. The man told her that he would like to send her a gift, so she gave him her phone number and home address. One day she received a call from a Putonghua-speaking woman who claimed to be a delivery company staff member. She told the victim that she was the recipient of a parcel and that the delivery fee hadn’t been paid.

According to Ho, the victim was asked to pay a delivery fee of US$2,200, which she promptly remitted to a bank account provided by the woman.

A few days later, Ho said, the victim received another call from the woman. The victim was told that the parcel had been seized by Hong Kong Customs officers as they had found US dollars in cash in the parcel. The woman told the victim that the delivery company would send “an explanation letter” to the Hong Kong authorities if the victim paid an additional US$5,000. The victim then transferred the requested amount to the same account.

The victim’s online friend Steve, who claimed to work in the real estate sector in Thailand with two children, told her that he was in dire straits and needed cash. He asked her twice to lend him some money, initially HK$40,200 and later a further HK$110,000, which she did.

Ho said that soon afterwards the man told her that he needed money again and wanted to meet her in Thailand. The two arranged
to meet and the victim flew to Bangkok. The man didn’t show up, but contacted her that he needed another US$20,000. She transferred the money to his account. Later she couldn’t reach the man anymore and finally suspected that she had fallen victim to an online scam.

She reported to the case to the police on Saturday, according Ho. She lost a total of HK$393,000 (404,725 patacas) in the social networking trap.

Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Ho Chan Nam reveals the city’s latest online fraud case during yesterday’s regular press conference. Photo: Joel Chu


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