A 90-year-old woman has lost £23million to scammers in Hong Kong who posed as Chinese officials in the city’s biggest recorded phone scam.
Police on Tuesday, April 20, said scammers targeted an elderly woman living in a mansion on The Peak, Hong Kong’s most luxurious neighbourhood.
Last summer criminals contacted the unnamed woman pretending to be Chinese public security officials. They claimed her identity had been used in a serious criminal case in mainland China.
She was told she needed to transfer money from her bank account into accounts held by the investigation team for safekeeping and scrutiny, the South China Morning Post reported, citing police sources.
Police said several days later a person arrived at her house with a dedicated mobile phone and SIM card for her to use in communicating with the fake security agents who persuaded her to make a total of 11 bank transfers.
Over five months, the elderly lady gave a total of HK$250 million (£23million) to the scammers, the largest sum recorded yet by a phone scammer.
Police said the scam was only spotted because the elderly lady’s domestic help thought something suspicious was happening and contacted her employer’s daughter who then alerted officers.
After an investigation, a 19-year-old was arrested for fraud and has been released on bail, police said.
The South China Morning Post reported that the arrested person is believed to have been the fraudster who turned up at the lady’s house with the phone.