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Fraudulent activities nowadays are endless with techniques constantly evolving.

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  • Location:Taiwan
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  • Unit:National Immigration Agency, Ministry of the Interior
  • Update Date:2020/07/21
  • Clicks:400
Fraudulent activities nowadays are endless with techniques constantly evolving.

Fraudulent activities nowadays are endless with techniques constantly evolving. Fraudsters use the weakness of human nature and telephone to manipulate new residents, migrant workers and the general public rushing to ATMs and send their hard earned money to the fraudsters. In recent years, many Southeast Asian migrant workers and even new residents have joined the gang, they use fellow inhabitant connections and same mother tongue advantages to lower the target victim’s guard and this has greatly increased the vulnerabilities to fraud among new residents and migrant workers.

*Read real-world cases and learn self-defense against scams:

1. As China strengthens anti-fraud controls, police worry Southeast Asia may be the new ‘blue ocean of fraud.’In order to overcome language barrier, gang of fraudsters are recruiting Southeast Asians living in Taiwan to be their scam callers. Last October, the Investigation Bureau raided call centers in Taichung and Miaoli targeting Thai nationals and arrested 18 Thai and 7 Taiwanese suspects. This April, the police traced a call center located in Zihguan District of Kaohsiung City that involved Malaysian victims and arrested 7 Malaysian suspects at Taoyuan Airport. According to the police, Provincial Public Security Bureaus in China are setting up Telecom and Internet Fraudulent Crime Combating Centers (similar to Taiwan's 165 anti-fraud platform) across the country to flag up suspicious account activities and freeze fraudulent funds. Some provinces or cities will mark 'suspected fraudster' at the door of the suspect's house and cancel their social benefits, or even demolish their houses. These vigorous official actions have raised people's awareness against fraud and scams. Governments in Southeast Asian countries, by contrast, spend less efforts in combating fraud, and their citizens are more prone to telecom fraud. Police said that due to the cheap labor cost of illegal migrants, the fraudsters normally provide free accommodation and meals on top of salary to attract them to join the gang. Once the migrant workers have earned enough, they simply leave the country. Therefore, the gang is never short of members and the proportion of new residents in the gang is also increasing. People from economically disadvantaged families have become the gang’s potential targets. (United Daily News)

2. Mean scammers conned Vietnamese new residents On the 22nd of this month, Vietnamese woman Nguyen (age 38) received a phone call from a prosecutor (impersonated by the scammer) who told her that her account had been stolen. During the conversation, the scammer found out Ms Nguyen has a saving of NT$610,000 in the Farmers Association of Heping District, so he asked her to send the money over so it could be monitored by the prosecutor. Nguyen didn't doubt it for a second so she agreed to meet the fake prosecutor at the Farmers Association of Dongshih District to withdraw the money and hand it over. However, as the passbook of Heping's Farmers Association cannot withdraw money from the Dongshih branch, Nguyen instead gave the scammer her passbook, ATM card, seal and password in exchange for a fake official documentation and returned home. As the password Ms Nguyen gave to the scammer didn’t work, the scammer was unable to withdraw money so he kept phoning Ms Nguyen. This made Ms Nguyen sensed something wrong, so she parked her car right in front of Zhulin Police Station in Heping District to speak to the scammer. Officer Li Pengwen was on duty that day, he noticed Ms Nguyen's car had been parked in front of the station for quite a long while, instinct told him this was not right. He approached Ms Nguyen and overheard her repeatedly mentioning bank account password over the phone, he learned that Ms Nguyen may have fallen victim to fraud so he accompanied her to the Heping Farmers Association to stop the payment. Fortunately, her NT$610,000 savings remained untouched and was kept safely in her account. (Liberty Times)

3. 'Friendly' Indonesian couple swindled fellow inhabitants of NT$600,000 agency fees Ms Liu, an Indonesian woman married to a Taiwanese national 20 years ago, has three children with her husband and runs an eatery place in Yuli Township. She likes the living environment in Taiwan and is planning to help her two relatives to come and work in Taiwan, though she has no clue how to proceed. An Indonesian couple from Taoyuan City, Yanto and Mary, visited Yuli the other day and had meals at Liu's place. They told Liu in Indonesian that they can help her Indonesian relatives to come and work in Taiwan. Liu didn't suspect her fellow inhabitants' intention and gave Mary a sum of money to handle the matter.Unexpectedly, the couple made various excuses to swindle up to NT$600,000 from Liu during the process, and Liu’s relatives were still unable to come to Taiwan. According to Yuli Police Station, when Liu started to doubt about the whole thing, the couple became greedier, they told the victim that her relatives needed to deposit NT$350,000 in their bank accounts before they can come to Taiwan, so both parties agreed to meet at the park near the back entrance of Hualien railway station. Liu reported it immediately to the police for help, a task force from Yuli Police Station ambushed on the spot to arrest suspect Mary and seized the illegal income of NT$51,500, as well as gold necklace, ring, mobile phone and bank card. (SETN.com)

Common scam tricks and fraud prevention: Department of Legal Affairs, Taipei City Government

1. Internet shopping scam: 1.1 Scam tricks: All victims have used shopping channels or online websites to purchase goods, and after a few days they would receive a call from the ‘seller’ or ‘website staff’ telling them that due to billing errors, a recurring payment has been set up on the buyer's account, so they are advised to restore settings on ATMs to avoid any financial loss. Most buyers would be convinced with the story and start to worry about their money. As they are not familiar with the ATM manipulation process, they would simply follow the step-by-step instruction given by the scammer over the phone. The scammer would guide the victims to change the interface into English, then enter the ‘code’, which in fact is the remittance amount and the dummy fraud account number. The victims would not notice their savings have been transferred out of the account until the transaction is completed.

1.2 Fraud prevention 1.2.1 Get into the habit of double checking, do not follow any instructions from an unknown caller. 1.2.2 Arranged direct debit cannot be cancelled on ATMs, do not follow instructions for ATM manipulation over the phone. 1.2.3 Do not trust the caller ID display, just hang up and dial the customer service number of your bank or 165 anti-fraud hotline to verify. Do not answer the call or believe what the caller said without verification. 1.2.4 Phone numbers beginning with 0200, 0800, 0900, 0204 are virtual numbers, they can only be used for receiving calls rather than making calls, and these numbers shall not display on the phone.

2. Police and court staff impersonation fraud: 2.1 Scam tricks: The gang of fraudsters would impersonate as police officer to inform the victim that during a case investigation, the police found that the victim’s ID has been used to set up money laundering account for fraud and scams. As the case has now been transferred to the prosecutor for further investigation, the call will then be put through to the prosecutor. The impersonated prosecutor will tell the victim that they were summoned to court but failed to appear, therefore, for the purpose of investigation and clarification of account money flows, it is necessary for the victim to withdraw all their savings in the account and hand it over to the court for custody or send he money to the ‘National Security’ account, which in fact is the scammer’s dummy account. The victims were told that the money will be returned to them as soon as the case is cleared. This is how the scammers swindle money.

2.2 Fraud prevention 2.2.1 Court or police authorities will not collect cash from the party concerned or ask the party to send money during case investigation. 2.2.2 Court or police authorities will not monitor the party’s bank account. 2.2.3 Court authorities will never fax the summons to the party, it will be served by registered mail. 3. Compensated online dating fraud

3. Compensated online dating fraud 3.1 Scam tricks: The gang of fraudsters use compensated dating combined with embarrassment mentality to threaten the victims. As their behavior leans towards intimidating, they would use gangster or computer breakdown as their excuse to trick people into manipulating ATMs. They will then use operational error as excuse to constantly harass and intimidate the victims, and impersonate as State Monetary Authority to empty the victim's account for the purpose of setting up a security account.

3.2 Fraud prevention 3.2.1 Stay alerted to online dating sites. It is advised not to disclose information such as home address, school, company or landline so the gangsters do not have goods on you. 3.2.2 ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) have become the best scam tool for fraudsters, do not follow any phone instructions for manipulation. 3.2.3 If you have been tricked to transfer money through ATMs, please report immediately to the police as this is the best way to terminate the gangster’s intimidating behavior.

4. Chat room investment fraud 4.1 Scam tricks: Fraudsters would first target victim in the online chat room, declaring themselves as managers from a foreign investment company and make small talks with the victim. They are likely to spend one to six months’ time to build up a relationship and lay the foundation of mutual trust. It is also common for them to exchange e-mails as boyfriend and girlfriend or form closer relationship on the Internet. When the time is right, the fraudster will cast a huge profitable opportunity bait, claiming that you can leverage as much as NT$30 million profits with an investment of $200,000. They will also provide a fake foreign investment company website to gain victim's trust. After that, they will ask the victim to pay handling fees, security deposits, public funds, and account management fees, etc. until the total amount becomes out of proportion to the initial investment. At this stage the victim would admit this is a con investment and start to seek for help from others.

4.2 Fraud prevention 4.2.1 These online investment fraud are becoming more and more delicate, gangsters are taking their time to make friends, develop a close relationship and gain the victim's affection and trust. 4.2.2 After that, they will start talking about ‘investment, ‘prize winning’, and suggest ‘joint venture’ as an incentive to lower people’s guard and keep sending money. 4.2.3 Do not involve money lending or investment when date online, you can always consult overseas netizens to get hold of correct information and avoid being swindled out of all your money.

5. Revamped kidnapping ransom scam 5.1 Scam tricks:

5.1.1 The gangsters would have got hold of students’ basic information before they conduct fraud against students’ parents from the same area, school or classroom. This is to reduce gender or age errors, so they can target a more detailed geographical area, making it difficult for the victim to tell the authenticity. 5.1.2 Comparing to traditional kidnapping scam, these revamped tricks have not changed much except for some of the crime patter, there is no much difference in terms of the scam techniques they use and the delivery of payment.

5.2 Fraud prevention 5.2.1 Parents or family members should keep a secondary contact information, such as thee telephone number of the student's classmate, close friend or school tutor, for emergency. 5.2.2 Fraudsters will take advantage of anxious mentality by asking the victim to stay connected on the phone while withdrawing the money. In this case, please hang up the phone first, then dial 104 directory information desk, 165 anti-fraud hotline or the school's number for verification. 5.2.3 165 anti-fraud hotline can help you get in touch with suspected kidnapped victims, do not send money to the gangsters before the situation becomes clear.

6. Relative in need fraud: 6.1 Scam tricks: The scammers would manipulate interpersonal greetings and sympathy to phish potential victims through random phone calls. When asked of identity, the caller will pretend to be your sister, classmate, friend or client. If the answerer was not convinced and asked, “why you sound a bit weird”, the caller would say, "Oh I have a cold." The most obvious feature of this type of calls is that the caller is usually in urgent need of money dispatching or in an emergency situation to trick the answerer into sending money.

6.2 Fraud prevention 6.2.1 When you answer calls from unknown callers, in particular those reluctant to disclose their identity, do not guess who the caller is out of politeness, ask the caller to speak out their names. 6.2.2 If the caller claimed to be a relative whom you have not met for a long time, it is best to answer, "Sorry, I can't talk to you right now, let me call you back later," then hang up the suspicious call. 6.2.3 Find the address book of your relatives and friends, use these numbers to call back and ask if they are really in need of money, then you will be able to find out whether it was a fraudulent call.

7. Living allowance fraud against seniors 7.1 Scam tricks: 7.1.1 Scammers usually obtain lone seniors’ personal data through illegal channels and impersonate themselves as staff from Social Affairs Bureau or Veterans Affairs Council on the phone. They claim that they are currently processing elderly living allowance and will send someone out within a few days to help them with the application. 7.1.2 When the fraudsters come, they will bring out the application form and ask to see the victim’s passbook and seal for the form. As soon as they get hold of the passbook and seal, they will quickly replace the passbook with a counterfeit without the victim’s notice, and head straight to the bank to withdraw money then leave the passbook at the counter. 7.1.3 The victims would not know this is a fraud until the bank contacted them to collect their passbook.

7.2 Fraud prevention 7.2.1 Victims fallen for the living allowance fraud are mostly seniors living on their own, as they are less aware of what's happening in the society. Their poor eyesight, decreased alertness and slow movement also make them more vulnerable to getting scammed. 7.2.2 Public servant's IDs are easy to forge. If you have a visit from a stranger wearing public servant's ID, you should first ask for his/her name and service unit, then phone the alleged unit to check if he or she does work there and the purpose of the visit. 7.2.3 If senior members of your family live on their own, you should be alerted of any unknown visitors, do not let any strangers get into the house or hand out the bank passbook or seal.

8. Traps in classified ads, job offer and loan scams 8.1 Scam tricks: Scammers are constantly seeking ways to obtain dummy bank accounts. In addition to newspaper ads, job seekers and people looking for loans also become their targets. They will trick those who responded to the job or loan ads in the newspaper to surrender their bank cards and passwords during interviews. Victims would not notice the fraud until they discover unusual transactions in their passbook, then realize they have been used as fraudulent dummy accounts and the job or loan offers are scams.

8.2 Fraud prevention 8.2.1 Many newspaper job ads have hidden traps. When you apply for a job, remember not to hand over important documents such as passbook and bank card, as your account may be used as fraudulent dummy account and you may be sued and fined for such violation. 8.2.2 If you have already handed over your bank card, you should contact the card issuer to disable the card as soon as possible, bring along the newspaper ads and relevant IDs to the nearest police station so the police can take on the case for further investigation.

9. Online auction fraud 9.1 Scam tricks: The seller would sell items at a lower than average price and urge the buyer to pay up front otherwise the item may be sold to others. Many people will be swayed by such hunger manipulation and rush to transfer money before they realize this may be a con.

9.2 Fraud prevention 9.2.1 The top incentive for this type of fraud is the “lower than average price.” Netizens should avoid being greedy and fall into the trap set by the fraudsters. 9.2.2 Check past reviews of the seller. If a seller who used to sell clothes, ink cartridges, skin care products suddenly begins to sell cameras, it could be suspicious. 9.2.3 If the seller's past transaction records were all purchases and no sales, it is likely that the seller is using small transactions in exchange for good reviews to gain trust of the buyer. 9.2.4 If the seller refuses to trade in person for excuses of living in Pingtung, Hualien, U.S. or Japan, and insists on advance payment before shipping. 9.2.5 For precaution measure, it is best to purchase pre-ordered item from a reputed store or a credible merchant to avoid risk of fraud.

10. Investment fraud targeting second career seekers 10.1 Scam tricks: 10.1.1 The fraudsters would set up a paper company and post jobs in newspapers to lure people seeking for second career opportunities to apply. 10.1.2 The fraudsters would deliberately mention investment opportunities at work and spread whispers of highly profitable foreign futures, then invite the victims to invest in these products. 10.1.3 After the victims put all their available money in the investment, the fraudsters will fire them on the grounds of incompetence but keep them in touch through their colleagues to lower the victim's guard. 10.1.4 Once the fraudsters received all the money, the paper company soon went bankrupted, until then the victim discovered they have been conned.

10.2 Fraud prevention 10.2.1 The establishment, operation and recruitment of futures dealers are strictly regulated by the Futures Trading Act and related laws and regulations. The business and financial operations of approved futures dealers are supervised by competent authorities. Futures trading must be conducted through authorized foreign exchange banks in Taiwan. More information can be found on the Financial Supervisory Commission's website. 10.2.2 When applying for a new job, do not make any quick investment decisions based on other people’s whispers. You should take time to understand how it works, read about other fraud cases and compare them with your situation. Online stock quotes, colleague's profits or unauthorized trading are likely to be scams, do not make yourself regret over greed.

Scam tricks are constantly evolving, we would like to remind new residents, migrant workers and the general public, if you are unsure if something is a scam, do keep in mind of the three dos and don'ts principles: (1) Do not believe in telephone notification, do stay calm. (2) Do not disclose personal information, do check and verify immediately. (3) Do not use the number provided by fraudsters, do report to police or call 165 anti-fraud hotline. Don't lose your head!