In 2017, the reports of online shopping fraud have reached to 56 percent. Different complaint has surged in Hong Kong this year. Due to the ballooning rates of reports, it has prompted the local police of the country to step up their cyber patrols and intelligence team so that they can effectively crack down on internet fraudsters.
5.7 million HK dollars has been lost to various scam between January and June. The huge amount has moved the authorities to heighten their efforts to apprehend the people behind the crime.
Online shopping in Hong Kong
Due to the popularity of e-commerce websites and online shops, shopping became convenient. Purchasing products and even services can be done online. A lot of people use this new way of shopping because it is hassle-free and easy to use.
However, although it is more convenient to use online shopping for purchasing products, the number of complaint from customers is increasing. According to the latest official figures, the number of complaint about online shopping fraud increased to 872 in just the first six months of the year. The number has almost doubled from 559 reposts in the same period last year. The total amount of losses reached HK$5.7 million that happened in the period between January and June. It has reached 54 percent year on year.
The biggest case came from a victim conned into buying a luxury handbag worth HK$66,000. The item was never delivered and the victim lost the huge amount of money paid to the fraud seller.
19 men and 11 women aged between 17 and 51 were apprehended by the police. Four ringleaders and nine other suspects from four syndicates are included on the police watch list, along with 17 suspects. They are suspected to hold bank accounts used to collect crime proceeds. They were arrested due to money laundering complaint. The authorities found out that two of the people that were apprehended had been charged with obtaining property by deception.
According to Raymond Lam Cheuk-ho, superintendent of the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau, online shopping has become prevalent in Hong Kong. It is the main factor why many people are getting involved in scam and led to the surge of complaint on fraud.
Hong Kong’s police force found that scammers pose as vendors on shopping and auction websites. The use different tactics to trick and cheat shoppers. They may sell products like electronics, luxury watches, baby clothes, handbags, concert tickets, and more. However, the problem arises when the merchandise that the customers ordered never delivered to them.
The swindlers working behind the scam also posed as shoppers. They use bounced cheques to cheat money out of legitimate sellers. Authorities have also found out that online fraudsters operate by paying holders of bank accounts between HK$1,000 and HK$3,000 to use their accounts to collect their criminal proceeds.
The reports on fraud must serve as a warning to internet users to be aware and cautious when making purchases or even selling goods online.
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