Fraudsters employing tried and tested ruses continue to find new victims.
Chinese-language media have reported a case in which a National Chiao Tung University professor was defrauded of NT$3.18 million (US$103,270).
The professor, renowned in his field, received a call from a fraud ring in September last year, the reports said.
The caller, posing as a prosecutor, told the professor that his bank accounts had been compromised by a criminal organization for money laundering purposes, and he was asked to withdraw cash from his accounts and place it under the management of the prosecutors’ office, the reports said.
The professor followed the instructions and withdrew NT$1.5 million from his accounts and physically handed over the cash to a fraudster posing as a prosecutor in Hsinchu, the reports said.
The fraudster produced a faked document to win the trust of the professor, who twice more handed money over, the reports said.
The professor only started to suspect he had been duped after discussing the matter with relatives.
A police spokesperson said that fraud rings target the shortcomings of intellectuals — who often lack social experience — invariably telling them it is “essential to maintain confidentiality” that they “inform no third party for the duration of the investigation.”
Of the reported 20,000 victims of telecom fraud last year, 9,712 had bachelor’s degrees, while 853 had master’s degrees or doctorates, Criminal Investigation Bureau data show.
Police said those with advanced degrees are often focused on their area of specialty to the exclusion of the outside world.
Such people also have strong egos and tend to believe that “anti-fraud” campaigns publicized by the police do not apply to them.
Well-known intellectuals who have been duped include former minister of economic affairs Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘), who withdrew NT$1.2 million in May 2013 after he received a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped his son.
In March 2013, Academia Sinica vice president Liu Tsui-jung (劉翠溶) lost NT$20 million to a fraudster who posed as a prosecutor.
Many military personnel, government officials, engineers and researchers have all been duped, because their working environment tends to be quite insular, making them less vigilant about being defrauded, police said, adding that academics often refuse to believe that they have been cheated.
Such people often do not admit having fallen prey to fraudsters because “they are used to teaching others and cannot bring themselves to admit they need guidance,” a police officer said.
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