Scammers in Hong Kong have stolen £23 million from a 90 year old woman.
Hong Kong Police have said that the criminals posed as security officials who were investigating a fraud criminal case in China.
The elderly victim was told that her identity had been stolen and was being used without her knowledge.
Under the guise of helping the identity fraud investigation, the woman was subsequently tricked into making 11 different money transfers into a bank account during a five month period.
At one point, the scammers reportedly visited her home address to give her a burner phone to use to communicate with them.
The scam was only uncovered when a worker for the elderly victim informed a family member about the unusual activity.
A 19 yar old man has been arrested in connection to the case.
The news comes as reports of fraud increase globally during the coronavirus pandemic.
Romance fraud has increased during lockdown in the UK with the average victim losing £7,850.
According to UK Finance, a trade association, bank transfer romance fraud has increased by 20 per cent between January and November 2020 – with a collective loss of over £18.5 million being reported.
UK Finance reported that the increase comes as more people take to online dating platforms during the pandemic.
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said, “Romance scams can leave customers out of love and out of pocket, but there are steps people can take to keep themselves or their family and friends safe – both on and offline.”
“People can help their loved ones spot the signs of a scam, particularly as romance scammers can be very convincing by forming an emotional attachment with their victims.”