Published on ShanghaiDaily.compeople held in cell phone fraud scheme.htm
POLICE in the city working with their counterparts in Beijing and Guangdong Province have detained seven people for allegedly sending cell phone messages to people in Shanghai, threatening to hurt their family members if they didn't deposit money into an assigned bank account.
The Shanghai Public Security Bureau said yesterday that it received many reports about the fraud scheme on October 19 and 20. Police said the intended victims were asked to deposit 3,000 yuan (US$375) each into a bank account, but they don't know how many actually paid the money.
Zhuang Liqiang, a bureau official, said the short messages usually read: "You are allowed one day to deposit 3,000 yuan into the following bank account at the Bank of Agriculture, otherwise your children will be hurt."
A special task force was set up and within hours investigators managed to trace down two people suspected of sending the messages.
In cooperation with their counterparts in Guangdong Province, city police seized two suspects there who were allegedly in charge of sending the threatening information randomly to Shanghai cell phone users. Based on their confession, police captured the other five alleged accomplices in Beijing five days later.
"Suspects took advantage of victim's psychology of money for peace to commit fraud of small value," Zhuang said.
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