Tue, Mar 19, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Fraud suspects posed as prosecutors

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Seven people have been detained over scam in which fraudsters impersonated prosecutors and members of the judiciary, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said on Sunday.

A 21-year-old man surnamed Cheng (鄭) was allegedly the ringleader, sending people to meet the victims after contacting them by telephone, investigator Hsueh Fang-chi (薛方琪) said.

“Cheng mainly targeted young people for recruitment,” Hsueh said. “We have recovered about NT$2 million [US$64,868] stolen from the victims and blocked another NT$3 million from being transferred to bank accounts controlled by Cheng.”

Bureau agents and local police on Friday raided several locations in Taipei and New Taipei City, detaining Cheng and six other suspects, including three minors, the CIB said.

Cellphones, receipts and other materials were seized as possible evidence, it said.

The investigation is continuing, Hsueh said.

The CIB opened an investigationg in December last year after a Taipei retiree in his 50s told police that he had received telephone calls from the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, with callers claiming to be prosecutors telling him that his bank account had been hacked for use in an illegal investment scheme.

He was told that the prosecutors were investigating and needed his help by temporarily taking control of his bank account. He was instructed to give about NT$1 million to a clerk from the office, which he did.

The man said he suspected that something was wrong when he was instructed to hand over another NT$930,000, so he alerted the police.

Police officers waiting at the arranged meeting place detained two people allegedly working for the gang, the bureau said.

The pair, dressed in suits and ties so they would look more official, were reportedly sent by Cheng, Hsueh said.

A similar incident occured during the Lunar New Year holiday, when a 74-year-old resident of Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) was defrauded out of NT$60,000 by people impersonating prosecutors and clerks.

The woman called the police when the people asked her to hand over another NT$540,000, helping the bureau close in on Chang’s group, Hsueh said.

“The gang took advantage of elderly people unfamiliar with computers, digital technology and common fraud methods,” he added.

People should watch out for elderly people making unusual bank withdrawals and call the “165” anti-fraud hotline about suspicious activities, Hsueh added.

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