Taking a short break in the middle of a photo shoot last week, I received an email from Nicky Burridge, a freelance journalist in Hong Kong writing a piece for the South China Morning Post. She had come across my story and requested permission to reference my experience dealing with phone scam along with a quote in her article. I’m all for joint efforts to continue educating more people on the prevalence of phone and e-mail scams.
Jan Shim, a Brunei-based photographer, became caught up in a scam after the Hong Kong TachAsia Leisure Centre contacted him and asked him to complete a marketing survey. As a reward for doing the survey he was told his details would go into a prize draw.
Shim wrote about his experiences on his blog and says he has been contacted by people from all over Southeast Asia who were approached by people peddling a similar scam.
He says: “When it occurred to me that I was being scammed I was furious but instead of hanging up, as most would, I decided to play along and see where it would lead. I hadn’t expected to later discover just how rampant the scams were and still are being orchestrated.”
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© South China Morning Post
A Hong Kong teacher, who prefers to go unnamed, nearly fell victim to this scam after receiving an e-mail, in which someone taking the identity of a close friend said he was robbed on holiday. The friend said he was about to catch his flight home, but could not pay his hotel bill, and asked for cash. “It was incredibly realistic, but I realised that it was a scam after an e-mail conversation in which they wouldn’t FaceTime [online video chatting], but wanted me to transfer money to Western Union. I was offering to pay for his hotel so he could catch his flight. It was scary. I very nearly got duped,” he says.