Street Deceptions Fight Scams Together





Fake Medicine

How does it work?

This is a simple trick carried out in the street by two to three swindlers, who will approach victims trying to sell herbs/ pills/ medicines by exaggerating the medical effects of the so-called “miracle medicines”, or tempting the victim to buy the “miracle medicines” with one of the swindlers for re-sale with a view to gaining a huge profit. In the end, the money the victim paid is spent on some worthless goods.

What is our advice?

  • Do not buy medicines off the street;
  • If feeling unwell, consult a registered doctor; and
  • Chinese medicines and related commodities should be bought from registered and reputable outlets.



Electronic Parts

How does it work?

This scam usually involves two to three swindlers and is a variation of the fake medicine scam. The first swindler approaches the victim and asks whether the victim can watch over some goods for him in the street. The swindler will offer HKD200 to 300 for the assistance provided. If the victim agrees, the first swindler will take the victim to join the second swindler who also agrees to watch over the goods.  Not long, the third swindler claiming to be a merchant will approach the victim telling them the goods they have are rare parts and hold a certain market values, thus he is willing to buy the goods off them at a higher price.  The second swindler goes on to suggest that he and the victim offer to buy some of the goods from the first swindler when he returns, hoping to make a huge profit.  If the victim falls into the trap, he will be wasting money buying some goods of low value.

What is our advice?

  • Avoid purchasing electronic parts claimed to be expensive;
  • Never purchase goods that you have not physically seen or have no idea of the market concerned;
  • Only buy merchandise of this nature from reputable outlets.



Spiritual Blessing

How does it work?

This type of scam usually involves two to four swindlers and their targeted victims are usually elderly females. The first swindler approaches the victim and asks if she has heard of a particular “spiritual doctor”. The second swindler then emerges to participate in the conversation saying that she knows the whereabouts of such a “spiritual doctor” and leads the party to meet a third swindler who claims to be the granddaughter of the “spiritual doctor”. The third swindler will then allege that the victim suffers from some illnesses such as arthritis, or that her family member(s) has/ have offended some ghosts died from traffic accidents and will die by the end of that day. The victim is further convinced to pass cash or her valuables to the “spiritual doctor” for performing a ritual for sparing her family member(s) from misfortune. Following the ritual, the swindler returns the “valuables” which are wrapped in newspaper to the victim. However, when the victim later unwraps the package after the swindlers have left, she discovers in the package only worthless items and that her valuables are all gone.

What is our advice?

  • Be alert to those on the street who approach you with a pretext;
  • Never trust strangers; and
  • Discuss with your family members before making any decision to withdraw money from the bank or fetch cash/ gold and jewellery from home.

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Borrowing Money / Mobile Phone

How does it work?

This deception usually involves one to two swindlers and the victims are usually teenagers.  The swindler approaches the victim pretending to be a tourist who has lost his wallet, and asks the victim to lend him some money.  The swindler will leave his contact information to the victim for the return of money.  Later on, the victim discovers the swindler’s contact details to be false.

In a similar scenario, the swindler asks to borrow the victim's mobile phone to call his relative to arrange a loan.  The second swindler posing as the relative answers the call and then asks to speak to the victim.  The second swindler persuades the victim to lend money to the first swindler and asks for the bank account number of the victim, promising to transfer money back into the account later.  Eventually, no repayment will be made to the victim's account at all.



What is our advice?

  • Be suspicious of anyone approaching you on the street asking you to borrow money; and
  • Never lend money to anyone whom you do not know unless you have established his or her true identity and contact details.



Dropped Money

How does it work?

This type of deception usually involves a gang of two males targeting lone elderly persons. These swindlers will look for lone elders near banks or ATMs who have just withdrawn money. The first swindler deliberately drops some money right in front of the victim and walks off. At this time, the second swindler appears and picks up the money, then suggests halving the money with the victim. If the victim agrees, the second swindler will lead the victim to a quiet area nearby. Not long, the first swindler walks back and accuses the victim of picking up his money. The first swindler then demands to search the victim’s wallet or handbag to prove innocence. During which, the first swindler stealthily takes away the victim’s money. After both swindlers have left, the victim then finds that his money is stolen.

What is our advice?

  • Stay alert and think twice before allowing any stranger to search your properties;
  • Be accompanied when withdrawing large amounts of cash from banks or ATMs; and
  • If needed, call the police for assistance immediately.



Money Swapping Scam

How does it work?

Money Swapping Scam involves culprits deceiving money from cashiers of retail shops by showing large denomination banknote (HK$500 or HK$1,000) to the cashiers for payment of small amount of purchase and deceiving extra changes by distracting the cashiers.  Culprits generally target chain convenience stores, personal care products stores and supermarkets.  Culprits mostly choose to commit the offence during weekdays afternoon when only one staff running the shop.


What is our advice?

  • Shop attendants should be cautious when patrons purchase a small amount of product with a large denomination banknote
  • Shop attendants should ensure that the change amount is counted clearly in front of their patrons and then recounted again after each change;
  • Pay extra caution if there is any suspicious act from the Culprit during the change


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