Beijing police on Sunday launched a50-day crackdown on a fraudulent scheme that has led to people handing over bank deposits to swindlers who claim to be police or telecoms employees.
Police in the Xuanwu District of Beijing alone received 26 reports of such scams, involving 1.5 million yuan (219,000 U.S. dollars), since the latter half of October, said Zhang Yue, an officer in the district.
One fraud target lost 400,000 yuan, Zhang added.
A typical scam starts when someone gets a call in which they are told that their phone bill is overdue. They're advised that this happened as a result of a data breach and their bank accounts need to be encrypted.
Gullible residents have been lured to ATMs where they transfer their accounts to those designated by well-organized swindlers, who purport to have the right to "encrypt bank accounts."
A team of Beijing police went to Guangzhou and Zhuhai, where many of the fraudulent calls originate, to investigate. They broke up a gang and detained nine suspects, who confessed to more than 40 cases in Beijing involving millions of yuan.
During the campaign, Beijing police will post notices in a variety of public places and work with banks and telecoms providers to freeze the accounts and telephone numbers of suspects.