COVID-19: Online loan fraud cases on the rise, Tainan police say
In each case, the alleged company requested an upfront payment and then blocked the customer or failed to respond to their follow-up messages.
By Wang Chun-chung and Kayleigh Madjar / Journalist, with editor-in-chief
Tainan police warned on Monday of an increase in loan fraud, as fraudsters adapt to target people staying at home.
As a warning to residents, Tainan Fourth District detailed a case it received on Sunday.
Victim needed to borrow NT $ 100,000, but to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, decided to find a loan online instead of going to a bank in person, police said .
The company found a quick approval promised online, in addition to low interest rates and management fees. Although it did not require an in-person meeting, the company did demand that the fees for “attorney attestation” and “paperwork” be paid in advance, police said.
The victim transferred NT $ 27,100, but after waiting a few days, she still had not received payment from the company which suddenly became unresponsive, police added.
The police station said it was one of several complaints it had received about fraudulent online companies promising contactless loans.
In each case, the alleged company requested an upfront payment, then blocked the customer or failed to respond to follow-up messages, police said.
Fourth District Police Chief Kan Yen-min (甘炎民) said it is good to stay home over-cautious, but that caution must also extend to the internet.
Clear warning signs are a company asking for a money transfer or bank details, Kan said.
Kan recommended following the Bureau of Criminal Investigations’ three steps: staying calm, finding evidence, and asking a friend or the 165 hotline for help.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Criminal Investigations said two people were defrauded of a total of NT $ 38,000 by people claiming to have the results of their COVID-19 rapid test.
The fraudulent callers demanded payment for the drugs after notifying the recipient that their test came back positive, he said.
A real-time communication mechanism has been put in place between the 165 hotline and the National Health Insurance Administration to deal with these cases as they arise, he said.
Results of rapid tests always arrive the same day, while polymerase chain reaction tests are completed within three days, the administration said, adding that the results are only released by a medical service provider or them. Centers for Disease Control.
The results are published as soon as they are available and can be checked on the NHI smartphone app, he added.
Additional reporting by Yao Yueh-hung
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