Privacy Watchdog Sets Up Fraud Prevention Hotline

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2022-09-13 HKT 15:52

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  • Privacy Commissioner Ada Chung says people should be cautious when they get calls from unfamiliar numbers, to avoid falling prey to scams. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data.

    Privacy Commissioner Ada Chung says people should be cautious when they get calls from unfamiliar numbers, to avoid falling prey to scams. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data on Tuesday said it had launched a fraud prevention hotline, after receiving many reports of fraud cases this year.

The office said it had received 386 enquiries and 17 complaints about the use of personal data for fraudulent purposes, including the use of phishing calls, emails or text messages by swindlers who impersonated officers of different organisations.

It said a number of the complaints were about callers trying to obtain personal information by impersonating an officer of the Centre for Health Protection, a mainland law enforcement officer, or a courier company employee.

In some cases, it said, fraudsters tried to obtain personal data by claiming their victim had been infected with Covid-19, or was a close contact of a patient and had to be quarantined.

Privacy Commissioner Ada Chung said people should be cautious when they get calls from unfamiliar numbers, especially those with the prefix “+852", to avoid falling prey to scams.

“Swindlers may employ many different tricks with the aim of obtaining the personal data of members of the public for gain or perpetration of fraud. I call for greater vigilance when one receives any phishing calls, emails or SMS messages requesting personal data," she wrote in a statement.

"Members of the public should think twice and avoid disclosing any personal data arbitrarily, and should consider contacting relevant departments or organisations to verify the authenticity of the calls in order to safeguard their personal data and property."

The privacy watchdog said people can now report suspected fraud cases by calling 3423-6611.