Two women were arrested yesterday over an online shopping scam, conning a total of HK$99,000 from 15 victims.
In an operation yesterday, police arrested the two, aged 21 and 23, who were suspected of offering fake boat trip deals online. The 15 people who fell victim were conned HK$690 to HK$21,900 respectively.
The victims were said to have made their deposit after viewing the bogus deals on social media.
One of the victims, a 32-year-old man who lost a deposit of HK$6,000 realized he had been swindled after managing to locate the real owner of the boat by using the boat pennant number from the images the fraudsters provided.
Senior Inspector Lau Ka-Lai, of the Kowloon East Team, said the fraudsters run the scams amid increasing demand for boat trip services.
“Taking advantage of a surge in demand of the boat trips and fishing trips, the fraudsters set up a social media account to attract potential customers. They also urged the victims to make the deposit as soon as possible claiming the dates they chose will be full soon,” she said.
Hong Kong is no stranger to online scams. In the first half of the year alone, the police force received 2,804 reports of such incidents.
The force added that some fraudsters tend to make use of recent trends to plan their scams, such as selling mooncake vouchers with the Mid-Autumn Festival just around the corner.
“Shoppers are encouraged to select trustworthy sellers. Should the identity of a seller be suspicious, they should file a report to the police,” said a police spokesman.