BEIJING, June 17 (Xinhua) -- The Ministry of Public Security disclosed on Friday detailed tricks used in phone scams to warn citizens to be on guard against these types of crimes.
The ministry made the disclosure following the arrest of 598 suspects, including 186 mainlanders, 410 Taiwan residents, one Cambodian and one Vietnamese on June 11.
The case is the largest uncovered scam ever in terms of the number of criminal bases discovered and suspects captured, according to Liao Jinrong, vice director of the crime investigation department under the Ministry of Public Security.
Liao said the con artists swindled victims through a plethora of tricks and techniques.
In the largest phone-scam heist, a woman from Chongqing municipality transferred 3.99 million yuan (617,000 U.S.dollars) into the con artists' account. She was told her current bank card was invalid and needed to transfer her money to a new card.
According to preliminary statistics, such scams took place in 30 provincial regions and the money involved reached over 70 million yuan.
Swindlers usually call victims and falsely claim to be police officers, procurators or bank staff, and then persuade them to transfer money into the criminals' accounts.
In some cases, while pretending to be police officers, they tell victims that their bank accounts are being used by criminal gangs for money laundering and urge them to transfer their money to a "safe account."
In other cases, victims are told that they are involved in economic crimes, and the police need their identity card numbers and bank account information for the investigation.
Often, swindlers have the names and home addresses of victims so as to sound more authentic.
Sometimes criminals are aided in their scams by illegal telephone operators who make it appear as if the incoming call has originated from an official bureau or office.
The phone fraud cases are usually operated by organized networks, which are more complex than other criminal organizations. The "director group" serves as the core of the network, manipulating the entire process.
Directors will dispatch telephone numbers and the owners' information to the group of "telephone operators," and instruct them on the specific wording and tricks to cheat people out of their money.
Once the money is transferred to the designed accounts, another special group withdraws it rapidly.
These cross-border groups then divide the money in accordance with the shared costs, and it is difficult for police to recover all of the stolen property.
The ministry started to investigate these cases while exchanging information and views with its Taiwan counterpart.
Later, mainland and Taiwan police discovered that the leaders of the criminal racket were hiding in Taiwan, while the majority of laundering locations were in Guangdong Province and Chongqing, along with Cambodia and Indonesia.
Police from the mainland and Taiwan, with the help of police forces from the Southeast Asian nations, have broken up 106 swindling bases and confiscated a large amount of tools used by the suspects, such as bank cards, computers and cell phones.
Most of the ill-gotten money was collected by Taiwanese suspects. The mainland police authority has urged its Taiwan counterpart to severely punish the criminals and retrieve the illicit gains.
The Ministry of Public Security also called for close cooperation with telecom and banking departments in dealing with the crime, as loopholes were exposed in the monitoring and management efforts for illegal telecom operators and suspicious account transfers.