People in Taiwan lose NT$1.2 billion to investment scams in Q4 2022

01/09/2023 09:20 PM
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Evidence seized by the police in a scam case. Photo courtesy of Taipei City Police Department
Evidence seized by the police in a scam case. Photo courtesy of Taipei City Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division

Taipei, Jan. 9 (CNA) Victims in Taiwan lost NT$1.23 billion (US$40.18 million) to investment scammers in the fourth quarter of 2022, up 70 percent from a year ago, according to Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) statistics released Monday.

The figure was also up 40 percent from the previous quarter, the statistics showed.

The CIB said in a statement that fraud rings found that people have wanted to boost their income through investments as the global economy slows and took advantage by getting them interested in stocks, cryptocurrencies, and other investment vehicles.

Their most common strategy has been to promote investments promising big payouts, quick money or guaranteed returns in social media groups and give people the illusion they can make low-risk investments and be rewarded with high returns, the statement said.

Those incentives have proven too tempting for people to resist, only to eventually find that their investments have disappeared, the statement said.

The CIB urged people to invest in assets that can offer reasonable returns through legal channels, and said that if they suspect issues related to fraud they should call the 165 or 110 hotlines for advice or assistance.

Meanwhile, the Taipei City Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division reported Monday that it arrested 3,144 suspected scammers in 326 cases linked with fraud syndicates in 2022.

The achievements made Taipei the best performing city in cracking down on fraudsters among Taiwan's six special municipalities that also include New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, it said.

Joint efforts by police and financial institutions in the city had also forestalled 1,175 fraud cases and prevented nearly NT$750 million in potential losses to scammers last year. The case number represents a sharp jump from 680 in 2021, it said.

(By Huang Li-yun and Evelyn Kao)

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