Scammers steal HK$100 million from Hong Kong residents in single week with fake investment platforms, police reveal

More than 110 Hongkongers were duped out of HK$100 million (US$12.8 million) in the space of a week after being tricked into putting cash into bogus investment platforms, police have said.

The fake investment deals sparked an alert from the force on Wednesday on its CyberDefender Facebook page, urging people to be vigilant.

“In the past week, police received more than 110 cases of online investment scams, with a total loss exceeding HK$100 million,” the force said on the page.
Police have issued fresh warning on investment and trading scams after more than 110 people were cheated out of HK$100 million. Photo: Shutterstock

One woman was tricked into joining a chat group after she clicked on a link in an online investment post. Police said she was lured by the group’s so-called customer service representative into downloading a bogus investment trading app.

“Following the instructions, she set up an account within the sham app to invest and transferred over HK$6 million to local bank accounts controlled by the scammer,” the force said.

Police said the woman insisted on making the payments, despite the suspicions of bank staff, who questioned the transfer.

Phishing messages from fake ‘Scameter’ app prompt Hong Kong police warning

The woman realised she had been defrauded when she attempted to withdraw the funds and the trading platform blocked her using a variety of pretexts.

The force said fraudsters, who posed as political figures, artists and key opinion leaders, posted about investment on social media platforms to attract the public’s attention.

They persuaded targets to join online chat groups before they were coaxed into downloading bogus trading websites and investment apps.

Police in July warned that swindlers who impersonated investment experts had tricked victims into buying stocks they claimed were picked by artificial intelligence software.

Hong Kong to use bank account blacklist, alerts to beat online investment scams

The force said the public should use its Scameter search engine, accessible through the CyberDefender website, to check for fraudulent schemes.

The service has information to help the public identify suspicious web addresses, emails, platform usernames, bank accounts and mobile phone numbers or IP addresses.

Police dealt with 1,645 reports of online investment fraud between January and June, a 106 per cent increase on the 798 cases logged during the same period last year.

Losses from scams hit HK$828.7 million over the same period, up 113 per cent from the HK$387.9 million recorded between January and June 2022.

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