A Kaohsiung woman in her 70s, surnamed Huang, had an encounter with fraudsters who pretended to be her daughter in order to swindle her out of NT$100,000, but failed in the attempt. Not to be discouraged, the fraudsters still tried to launder money through Huang’s account, which would turn her into an accomplice, but luckily the police and the bank blocked the scam both times and prevented the fraud gang from tricking Huang again.
According to the police investigation, 73-year-old Mrs Huang is a housewife who lives alone. She lost contact with her daughter more than five years after the daughter left home in a fit of anger and went to work in northern Taiwan, but Huang has missed her daughter all along. On Dec. 7, she received a phone call from a scammer pretending to be her daughter and asking to borrow money. Huang fell for the ruse and nearly remitted NT$100,000 from her retirement pension, but luckily the bank staff were alert enough to see what was going on and report it to the police so they could help them prevent the scam.
However, on Dec. 27 Huang received another phone call from the bogus daughter, who said that she wanted to remit NT$1.34 million to Huang’s account for work-related reasons and asked her to remit it onward to the account of the fake daughter’s “cousin.” The scammer went on phoning Huang to make sure she was doing as requested.
Photo courtesy of a reader 照片：讀者提供
Huang missed her daughter so much that she believed the story and did not realize that this is a method that fraud gangs use for money laundering, so she went to the bank and asked how to remit a large sum of money. Realizing that something was amiss, the bank staff contacted the police. As soon as the Jiagong Police Station of Kaohsiung City Police Department’s Nanzih Precinct received the report, officers hurried to the scene to handle the situation by helping the bank staff to dissuade Huang.
The police told Huang that this is a common money laundering technique used by fraudsters, and that if she received illegal funds and remitted them onward, the fraudsters would be using her as a mule account. Huang missed her daughter so much that she was still worried about having a bad effect on her daughter’s work, so she was still not sure what to do.
The police proceeded to take Huang’s cellphone and talk to the fraudsters. They asked them to state Huang’s daughter’s name, but the fraudsters could not answer. Seeing that their evil intentions had been found out, they simply hung up. Fortunately, the police and bank staff were able to block the scam in good time, otherwise there would have been dire consequences.
Screen grab from the Association of Banks in Malaysia Web site 圖片摘自馬來西亞銀行協會網站
The police acted as a bridge between mother and daughter by phoning Huang’s daughter, who works in northern Taiwan, to tell her how much her mother missed her and how her mother had been tricked twice for her sake, nearly losing all her savings and almost falling foul of the law. They urged Huang’s daughter to phone her mother, saying that no matter how big the grudge between mother and daughter might be, they should still try to get over it. Huang’s daughter accepted the police’s advice and said she would go home to spend Lunar New Year with her mother.
(Liberty Times, translated by Julian Clegg)
A mule is a cross between a horse and a donkey. Mules are used as pack animals that can carry loads over difficult terrain such as mountain passes. Consequently, they can be used for smuggling in rugged areas. By extension, the word mule is also used figuratively to describe a person who carries contraband, especially narcotics, or someone whose account is used for illegal transactions such as money laundering.
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