eElderly News

【Smart Elderly】 Common Con Tricks

2 September 2013

Hong Kong has a very good reputation of being a safe city, however you could be targeted by either a criminal gang or fraudster who carry out any one of the below listed deceptions.  The scams tend to prey upon the victim's greed, vanity and/or ignorance.  The list is not comprehensive, but it does set out common deceptions currently being committed.

Fake Medicine

This is a simple trick carried out in the street by two or three culprit(s), who approach the victim trying to sell herbs / pills / medicine by exaggerating their medical value or tempting the victim to buy products as a joint venture in return for potentially huge profits.  Needless to say, the medicine turn out to be of very low re-sale or medical value.

Advice as below:

•    Do not be tempted by this offer. If you feel unwell, consult a doctor; and

•    Only buy medicine etc. from reputable outlets where you will have some recourse against the supplier if the need arises.

Spiritual Blessing

These scams involve two to four culprits.  The targeted victims are usually elderly.  The first culprit approaches the victim and asks if he/she has heard of a particular “Doctor” with some super-natural healing power.  A second person, who is part of the same gang, emerges to say he has heard of such person.  The second person then leads the party to meet a third culprit who claims to be a relative of the “Doctor”.  The third culprit alleges the victim that she suffers from some illnesses, usually arthritis and the “Doctor” can help to heal the sickness provided she surrenders some valuables / money for a ritual.

Advice as below:

•    Be suspicious of anyone who approaches you on the street and asks strange questions or behaves in a strange manner;

•    Temples are the best place for spiritual blessings;

•    Do not put your trust in people you don’t know; and

•    Discuss with your family first before making any decision to withdraw money from a bank to be used in a spiritual ritual.

Telephone Deception

The scam here involves the culprit calling the victim by telephone and assuming the identity of one of the victim's relatives, friends or business associates.  The culprit claims that he/she is experiencing financial difficulties and in need of money.  The victim is asked to deposit or transfer money into a designated bank account provided by the culprit.  The victim subsequently discovers the call to be bogus. Police investigation reveals that the culprit opened the bank account by using either a bogus or stolen ID card.  Alternatively, the account was opened by someone other than the fraudster.

Advice as below:

•    Make up a code word (for family members only) to be used in emergencies;

•    Tell the relative, friend or business associates you will call them back on their known number to verify the story;

•    Do not transfer any money before verification of the identity of the caller; and

•    Make a report to police if you suspect the call to be bogus.

Source: Hong Kong Police Force