A chief financial officer of a Hong Kong company has become the latest victim of an online investment scam after being duped out of more than HK$15 million (US$1.9 million) in less than two months, the Post has learned.
The 60-year-old man, who had traded stocks for more than 10 years, was paid HK$160,000 in profit from the first few transactions he made on a bogus investment platform, a source familiar with the case on Wednesday said.
The insider said the payment was used as bait to encourage the victim to make further trades and invest more money.
The victim first came across a post on Facebook in May about stock investment in mainland China and left his contact information.
He was later contacted by a scammer posing as an investment manager from Swiss bank UBS, who claimed he had exclusive mainland stock information.
The victim was then coaxed into setting up an account on a bogus trading app to invest in the mainland stock market.
“Between July 2 and August 23, the man was lured into transferring more than HK$15.56 million into 23 different bank accounts in 48 transactions,” another source said.
When the victim later tried to withdraw some of the money, he was asked to pay a HK$2 million administrative fee, which he did not hand over.
He later realised it was a scam when his original contact could no longer be reached. He recently filed a report with police.
According to the force, the victim lost more than HK$15.4 million in the fraud.
Police have warned that scammers control the display of fake information, including the price of stocks and positive returns, on bogus investment websites and apps.
A record 810 Hongkongers fell victim to online investment scams last month.
The figure broke the previous record of more than 600 in July, when police warned that swindlers posing as investment experts had tricked victims into buying stocks they claimed were selected by artificial intelligence (AI) software.
Case numbers for August alone were equal to half of the 1,604 investment scams reported in the first six months of the year. In comparison, 798 cases were logged in the first half of last year.
Losses from such scams exceeded HK$800 million over the first six months this year, double the nearly HK$400 million recorded in the same period in 2022.
Police have urged residents to use the force’s Scameter search engine, accessible via the CyberDefender website, to check for scams. It provides information to help the public identify suspicious web addresses, emails, platform usernames, bank accounts and mobile phone numbers or IP addresses.
Police handled 18,743 deception cases between January and June this year, an increase of 52 per cent from 12,326 logged over the same period in 2022.
Losses from cases this year reached HK$2.69 billion, up 28 per cent from HK$2.1 billion recorded in the same period in 2022.
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