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Online scams become more common

Online scams have become more and more common in recent years, causing a great deal of anxiety in society.

Scammers using technology to cheat people. — Illustration by

Criminals have even telephoned or texted victims pretending to be police and procuracy officers or the victims’ friends and relatives and tell them to send money to their bank accounts.

Nguyen Truong Viet, a resident of Hanoi’s Thanh Tri District, is still angry about losing a large amount of his savings.

“In April, I received a phone call of a man who said to be a postman of the Hanoi Post Office,” Viet recalled.

“He said that I had a letter from HCM City Police. Then he asked me to get it from the post office immediately,” Viet said.

To get Viet’s trust, the man gave him a telephone number and said it was the police’s number.

“I checked the number on the internet and found it was the HCM City police,” Viet said.

Three hours later, a man called Viet saying he was a lieutenant of the HCM City’s criminal police and asked Viet come to the police station to clarify a bank transfer suspected to relate to money laundering.

Then, the man asked Viet to transfer all the money, which amounted to more than VND100 million he had saved to buy an apartment, in his bank account to another account to let the police investigate whether Viet was involved in the money laundering or not.

Because he believed the man was a policeman and was afraid of being convicted of a crime, Viet did as he asked.

Viet is one of many victims of online scammers recently.

According to Hanoi police, this type of crime has appeared in recent years.

The cheaters’ tricks were to use technology, anonymise phone numbers or hack phone numbers with phone software via the internet to be identical to the public phone numbers of the police or procuracy offices to call people reporting they were being sued for debts or were being investigated by the police, said Lieutenant Colonel Dao Trung Hieu, a criminological expert of the Hanoi Police.

The scammers also send arrest and home search warrants from the police and People's Procuracy and ask the victim to declare the assets and money in bank accounts.

After that, the scammers threaten to detain the victims to investigate and tell them to transfer money or read the OTP code for them to make a money transfer to their accounts under the pretext of investigation.

It is difficult to get back the money because after receiving victims' money, the scammers withdraw it from ATMs, said the policeman.

Scammers could also use telecommunications and internet networks to fraudulently hijack Facebook and Zalo accounts to pretend to be relatives or acquaintances to borrow money, ask to buy phone cards or receive money from abroad, the Lieutenant Colonel said.

“When using Facebook and Zalo accounts, users must activate two-layer security and create alerts when strange devices are logged in as well as quickly alert friends when the account is taken to prevent scamming,” he said.

“People should not publish personal information on social networks,” he suggested.  VNS

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