A couple of days ago I heard of an SMS scan in Beijing, that now also has started in Shanghai. The trick is based on the fact that some ATM’s in China can be used to transfer money, and many people do not know this. What happens is that swindlers send out a fake mass SMS saying that a certain amount of money has been deducted from the person’s bank account for a purchase at a shopping center. It also mentions a phone number to call in case of questions.
Some people call the number and are advised to call a special department in the police station, and are given the number for this. The fake police man then asks questions about how much money is still on the account. Then the person is asked to go to an ATM to solve this problem, and call the police number back from there. After doing that the person is asked to push the ‘transfer account’ button and given an identifying code and a cipher code to enter. When that is done things should be OK, the victim is told. But of course that is not the case: the identifying code is the bank account to which the person is transferring money, and the cipher code an amount close to what is still left on the account. In Beijing people were warned for this on TV and by SMS, but still people fall for the trap. The Shanghai Daily reported a case today of a local woman who lost almost RMB 150,000 because of this, but forgot to mention that this practice started in Beijing a few days ago already.