Unsolicited Calls

2023 年 2 月 3 日 | DSE English

There have been some unsolicited calls that successfully cheated people, making them lose plenty of money. Write a letter to the editor of the Hong Kong Post about this and suggest three ways to prevent such deceptions.

Dear Editor,

From time to time we have all probably received sales calls that we didn’t request. While some people don’t mind them as they may offer something of interest, others find these calls a bit annoying and an intrusion. After all, they are socially acceptable as all of them involve nothing evil for us, except the recent development. There have been a growing number of anonymous calls not for promotion merely but for money cheating. In this letter, I would like to focus on this issue and suggest some ways to avoid being deceived.

Criminals take advantage of weaknesses in human nature by relating potential victims to a setting they create. The common practice is, their calls are first directed to bogus law enforcement agencies. They are informed of involvement in a deception case on the mainland and then told to pay money for settlement. Obviously, the scammers make use of people’s respect for authority and prey on those who are vulnerable to persuasion and pressure. It is advisable that people encountering similar cases, before transferring any money, should consult certain legal professionals. In fact, it does not make sense that one can make a payment to avoid `trouble’ resulting from breaking laws, even in China.

The fact that people more likely fall for the deception is caused by their lack of serious attitude towards personal particulars. In some typical scams, people are asked to tell the bank account numbers and passwords over the phone. I wonder how easy the victims share this sensitive information with others, especially when counterparties are totally strangers. The growing use of internet technology has made our passwords so important in securing wealth.  Everyone should stay alert and vigilant in guarding their account passwords; otherwise, we would become the next target of these fraudsters.

Since Hong Kong’s phone scams have closely to do with criminals in mainland China, a cross-border task force has to be set up to tackle the problem. The joint effort includes exchange of intelligence, enhancement of investigative capabilities and exploration of more long-term communication channels. The liaison conveys an important message to the criminals that their chance of being arrested is getting higher. This, to a certain extent, can put a brake to runaway phone scams.

It should be noticed that retrieving all the money lost to the scammers is very unlikely even if the masterminds are caught. So, people cannot rely on the police’s follow-up when we have been duped out of substantial amount of money. What we adopt is a precautionary approach to these phone scams. We should be aware of the trick the phone scammers are trying to play on us.

Yours faithfully,

Chris Wong