Hong Kong's fraud cases have surged over the past five years, according to the city's security chief Chris Tang Ping Keung.
Speaking at the Legco meeting on Wednesday, Tang told lawmakers that the number of fraud cases in the city has increased by 1.3 times to over 19,000 cases in 2021 compared to 8,300 cases recorded in 2018.
In the first three quarters of this year, the police have logged 19,444 fraud cases, an increase of 39.7% compared to last year, involving more than HK$3.3 billion, of which over 70% were related to online fraud, and nearly 45% of them were related to online shopping. Tang pointed out that the police will conduct frequent "patrols" online and will take initiatives to investigate any suspicious matters. He also reminded the public to pay more attention to comments when shopping online.
Tang also said that most of the phone scams are from overseas. Scammers chose to add a "+" sign to overseas calls to help people identify them, telecommunications companies are also studying the interception of phone numbers that prove to be fraudulent calls, and plan to use signs to remind users the calls may be suspicious, according to Tang.
Meanwhile, Tang said the force’s Anti-Deception Coordination Centre has assisted over 400 HongKongers from being scammed out of a total of HK$1 billion, with multiple fraud gangs of over 650 individuals arrested.
On the other hand, a recent TransUnion study revealed that the rate of suspected digital fraud attempts from Hong Kong in Q2 2022 has dropped significantly compared to the same period last year, with the largest decline in retail, gaming and communities.
TransUnion’s quarterly fraud analysis showed that the rate of suspected digital fraud attempts originating from Hong Kong declined 26% across almost all of the industries tracked except for the gambling (2%) and financial services sectors (2%), with the largest declines in gaming (-59%), communities (-48%), and retail (-46%).
The analysis shows that the largest declines year-on-year (YoY) in the rate of suspected digital fraud of transactions originating from Hong Kong occurred in gaming (-59%) and communities followed by retail (-46%), and travel and leisure (-35%). Rates of decline in communities, retail, and travel and leisure are ahead of the global figures (-8%, -28% and -28%, respectively) whereas declines in gaming were slightly less severe than the global trend (-63.5%).
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