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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Eleven people arrested for scams related to phishing messages and invalid cheques

Seven people were arrested for their connection to at least 25 phishing scams in which the victims were swindled out of about HK$500,000. Separately, four men were also arrested for cheating about HK$900,000 from online sellers by using invalid cheques.
The first phishing case was handled by the East Kowloon regional crime squad. Police said they seized a great number of wine, medicines as well as some cash worth about HK$75,000 at the homes of two core members during the operation mounted between Thursday and Friday.

Police believed the items were bought using the victims’ credit card information. Officers also seized two modem pools and a significant number of SIM cards to be used to send victims phishing messages containing fraudulent links.

The fraudsters would first recruit subordinates to register online shopping platforms with their own real name-registered SIM cards. The fraudsters then used victims’ credit card information to shop and resell the items to pharmacies and spirits shops to generate profits.

They would also launder the crime proceeds by wiring the money into different bank accounts through the Faster Payment System (FPS) and putting the money into cryptocurrency e-wallets.

The suspects – four men and three women aged 27 to 61 – were reportedly logistic workers, housewives and jobless. They were arrested for obtaining property by deception.

As for the second case, the seven scams involving invalid cheques took place between March and April. The fraudsters approached sellers who listed luxury items online like wristwatches or handbags, and arranged for an in-person meeting, where they deposited a blank cheque into the sellers’ bank accounts.

The sellers would finally realize they didn’t have the money a few days after the fraudsters successfully obtained the luxury items and vanished. The goods were valued at about HK$900,000.

Four men aged 31 to 51 were arrested for obtaining property and handling stolen goods in Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po and Cheung Sha Wan between Thursday and Friday.

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