HK man foils scammer posing as Mainland security officer by requesting Cantonese talk

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8th June 2024 – (Hong Kong) A Hong Kong man raised the alarm on social media after receiving a suspicious phone call from an individual claiming to be from the “National Security Department.” The caller spoke in Putonghua and accurately stated the man’s full name and the first four digits of his ID card, urging him to visit the “National Security Department” located in Admiralty.

The man took to a community Facebook group to share his experience, suspecting it to be a new form of scam. The caller identified themselves as a member of the “National Security Department” and conversed with the man in Putonghua. They mentioned that the man had posted “political content” and demanded him to bring his mobile phone and identification documents to the “National Security Department” by Wednesday, the 5th.

Doubting the legitimacy of the call, the man requested the caller to speak in Cantonese, saying, “I don’t understand, please speak in a language I can comprehend.” However, the caller disregarded his request and insisted on his visit to Admiralty. Frustrated, the man firmly stated, “Get someone who can speak Cantonese to call me back, then we can continue the conversation,” before abruptly ending the call. He mentioned that this was the first time he had received such a call and added hashtags “#EducateElderly” and “#BewareOfScams” to his post.

The man’s post sparked a discussion among netizens, with some sharing similar experiences of receiving similar calls but from different organizations. Some questioned the caller’s lack of Cantonese proficiency, further speculating it to be a scam. Comments such as “There have been many of these lately, they know my full name,” “And even my ID card number,” and “They said government departments in the Mainland don’t speak Cantonese, and then they scared me by saying I won’t be allowed to enter the Mainland in the future,” flooded the post. Other netizens advised the public to remain vigilant and cautious, suggesting actions such as “Hang up and block the number, done,” and “Unknown calls should not be answered to avoid any losses.”

Raymond Siu, the Commissioner of Police, previously emphasised that if individuals receive calls from individuals claiming to be “Mainland officials,” they should hang up immediately. He explicitly stated, “If there is indeed something serious, come to me. I guarantee it’s a scam, 101% a scam.”