- A woman in China impersonated an official to trick unwitting victims into providing bank details she then used to defraud them
- The scam dates back to 2016 and saw 28 people conned out of US$1.2 million before the crime unravelled
A woman in China who defrauded 8 million yuan (US$1.2 million) with more than 300 credit cards linked to 28 people has gained national notoriety after news of her blatant crimes went viral on social media.
The woman, surnamed Li, from Sichuan province in southwestern China, was only caught after her husband mistakenly thought she was the victim of a scam when he discovered multiple credit card statements involving large transactions, Star Video reported.
Instead, it emerged she was the culprit in a trail of fraud that dated back to 2016.
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In December last year, the woman’s husband discovered that his wife had a large number of credit cards. The huge cash flows shown on the statements led him to suspect his wife had fallen for a scam.
Without speaking to his wife, he went to the local police.
“He told us that his wife had been conned out of more than 8 million yuan (US$1.2 million),” an unnamed police officer told Star Video.
The police began an investigation based on the details provided by the husband.
They soon discovered the truth was the opposite of the fears voiced by the woman’s concerned husband.
“There are 28 victims found,” the police officer said.
“She is not the victim, but the scammer.”
Police alleged that Li came up with the scam in 2016 after she was unable to pay off a debt. She disguised herself as a staff member at a local government department and approached high-worth individuals who could provide valuable financial information.
Li promised them that they could get a high rate of interest with a bank and they entrusted her with their credit and debit card details.
She then used the cards to support her extravagant lifestyle and travel.
The case is still under official investigation.
The story and its shocking details have trended widely on mainland social media.
“How can Li keep the fraud quiet for six years? None of the victims got suspicious?” Asked one person.
Another commented: “What a poor husband!”
Stories about scams often prompt online discussions in China. Earlier this month, a woman in northern China’s Shanxi province defrauded 680,000 yuan (US$99,000) from her landlady to support her lifestyle.
In June last year, a woman in Hangzhou in eastern China’s Zhejiang province almost had her bank account balance of 25 million yuan (US$3.6 million) emptied after she received a call from someone pretending to be a member of staff from a training school her child had attended.
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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