Three people aged 28 to 35 were arrested by police over a scam in which they used citizens’ credit card information – stolen through phishing messages – and spent over HK$1.5 million on shopping.
The two men and a woman were arrested for obtaining property by deception in Sheung Wan and Kam Tin, Yuen Long over the past two days. They were reportedly a driver, a beauty stylist, and a real estate agent.
Police investigations revealed that the trio impersonated telecommunications service providers and sent phishing messages to citizens.
They would then tell citizens their membership points accumulated were about to expire and lure citizens to visit certain links and enter their credit card information, including the card validation code (CVC/CVV).
After citizens entered the information, they received notifications from the bank the same day that their credit cards were suspected to be stolen. The victims then filed the reports starting in early April.
Police added the crime ring would also assign drivers to visit shops and buy luxury items and valuables that could be easily re-sold and traded.
During the operation, police also seized HK$1.5 million worth of evidence items, including a designer handbag that cost over HK$200,000 and a Tesla
Police said the investigation is ongoing, and they may make more arrests.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) received complaints from citizens regarding credit card theft.
Citizens blasted banks for asking cardholders to repay all debts and spending racked up by fraudsters. They also slammed banks for failing to intervene in time and put suspicious transactions on hold when the credit limit was exceeded.
Others criticized banks for refusing to provide the company address of traders responsible for suspicious transactions, citing security reasons, which stopped police from further searching for evidence.
Lawmaker Edward Leung Hei said it was unfair for banks to ask citizens to repay debts and spending left behind by fraudsters citing “serious negligence,” as the banks themselves defined the term.
He suggested the Hong Kong Monetary Authority set up guidelines to regulate electronic payments and clarify the definition of the term “serious negligence.”