More than 135 people have been arrested in an investigation of global telemarketing scams that have victimized 5 million people, many of them elderly, US Attorney General John Ashcroft said on Tuesday. \nSchemes targeted in the yearlong investigation, dub-bed "Operation Roaming Charge," have cost victims an estimated US$1 billion. \nAmong them: a US$500 millionphone billing scam that involved members of the Gambino crime family in New York. \nThe probe also uncovered bogus lottery and sweepstakes scams, fake preapproved credit cards, offers of nonexistent investments, tax evasion scams and so-called recovery rooms in which people posing as law enforcers offered to help victims recoup their losses for a fee. \n"Most often, these criminals target the elderly, the needy and the vulnerable," Ashcroft said at a news conference. \nThe investigation, which involved close cooperation with Canadian officials, focused on a growing trend in which fraudulent tele-marketers prey on US citizens from foreign countries. Thirty-five of those arrested were operating in foreign countries, and more than 100 suspects were arrested in the US. \n"In today's world, telemarketing fraud schemes have become more sophisticated and international in scope," said Chris Swecker, assistant FBI director for the criminal investigative division. \nAbout 70 people have been convicted on US and Canadian fraud charges dur-ing the investigation, which has involved 190 search warrants in the two countries. The Federal Trade Commission, Postal Inspection Service and other federal agencies have brought numerous civil complaints.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to