Brunei Darussalam

South China Morning Post — Phone and e-mail scams: Don’t Be the Next Victim

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.

3 thoughts on “South China Morning Post — Phone and e-mail scams: Don’t Be the Next Victim

  1. Good post Jan. I would like to share my own experience here.

    I had a similar caller who claimed she was from KL, Malaysia. Her mandarin had a mainland-ish slur though. After she introduced herself she claimed she was doing a market survey for a (hers) local electronics store and asked me if I would like to participate.

    Like you I played along and answered her survey questions. Added to the fact that I have personally conducted surveys on the phone during my time as a reporter, I saw no harm in participating.
    I cautiously did not give her any personal information because I was aware of scams, having read stories online. She did try to get me to divulge some. I stood my ground despite her insistence that she needed more information for a better report.

    I completed her survey. She thanked me and hung up. A couple of weeks later she called back saying I was entitled to a prize for participating in her survey. However I would have to attend a function in KL to pick up my prize. I wanted no part in that. She tried to get me to come with words and incentives. Even went so far as to call multiple times. I finally asked her as politely as I can to not call again. Afterwards I completely ignored the calls. They stopped eventually.

    That’s the sum of my experience.

    Like

    1. Thanks for sharing your story. After my own episodes I want nothing more to do with such thieves so each time I get such calls I just hang up – I have since received 3 or 4 such attempts. Terminating the calls felt good and for some reason doing so made me think of getting coffee to celebrate the little victory.

      Like

  2. …i received a called from hong kong rui tai electronics. Website is http://www.rtaihk.com/ . Is really keep brainwashing people’s mind to believe them and making u to fall in their trap. The person told me I won a 15 days trip to Europe ( pairs, France ,etc ) worth HK$60k and I told the person to convert it to cash instead of the ticket. And she called me back the next day. Said that it is possible but for every HK$1000 , I will receive only HK$880.

    Like

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