Telephone scams will increase as the New Year approaches, Beijing police warned yesterday.
From Oct 29 to Monday, residents in Tongzhou district were hit by 14 telephone-based scams, police said in an email to METRO yesterday.
"Beijing is a metropolis with a large floating population. Crimes tend to jump near the end of the year as migrant people are under pressure to save money for Spring Festival," said Zhang Lixian, a press officer with Tongzhou police.
"Using telephones to cheat is considered as safe and convenient because they can avoid police investigation," he said.
Since Oct 16, 2009, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate started implementing two new charges in criminal law, "the crime of illegally obtaining personal information of citizens" and "the crime of sale or illegally providing personal information of citizens."
Beijing's public security bureau advises the public to report crimes to the police immediately, and to keep telephone records and bank card details safe, a press officer surnamed Ci said yesterday.
He also urged telecom companies and banks to prevent user data from being leaked, and monitor and filter suspicious calls.
Zhang said scam artists often pretend to work for telecommunication companies, China Unionpay or even the police themselves. Or they tell victims they can help them refund their car taxes.
Other techniques include pretending to be a friend or relative in need of money, or by using the Internet to offer big prizes provided details are passed over the phone.
A 25-year-old girl surnamed Wang told METRO yesterday she received an unusual call one week ago.
The man said he was a staff member from the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau. She was asked to wire 1,000 yuan to an account as a service fee and was told the man would handle her car refund. The scam fell apart after she checked her phone records.
It follows a scam last week, in which a man pretended to be a police officer and dialed a random landline number that turned out to belong to the Fangshan police bureau. The scam artist told the officer he was from the Beijing police bureau.