Intellectuals prove susceptible to fraudsters’ schemes

Taipei--Fraudsters continue to find new victims employing tried and tested ruses.

This was recently reinforced when a local newspaper reported a case in which a professor at National Chiao Tung University was defrauded out of NT$3.18 million (US$102,240).

The United Daily News said the professor, renowned in his academic field, received a call from a fraud ring last September.

The caller, posing as a prosecutor, informed the professor his bank accounts had been compromised by a criminal organization for money laundering purposes. He then asked the professor to withdraw money from his accounts and place it under the management of the prosecutors office.

The professor followed the instructions, withdrew NT$1.5 million from his accounts and physically handed over the cash to the bogus prosecutor in Hsinchu. The fraudster even produced a fake document to secure the trust of the professor, who withdrew money two more times.

The professor only started to suspect he had been duped after discussing the matter with relatives.

A police spokesperson noted that fraud rings target the shortcomings of intellectuals who often lack social experience, invariably telling them it is "essential to maintain confidentiality and inform no third party for the duration of the investigation."

According to data from the Criminal Investigation Bureau, of the reported 20,000 victims of telecom fraud last year, 9,712, had bachelors degrees, while 853 had masters degrees or higher.

Police characterized those with advanced degrees as more likely to be focused on their area of specialty to the exclusion of external information and lacking in social understanding.

Such individuals also have strong egos and tend to believe that "anti-fraud" campaigns launched by the police do not apply to them.

Well known intellectuals who have been duped include Yiin Chii-ming (???), former head of the National Development Council, who withdrew NT$1.2 million in May 2013 when he received a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped his son.

In March 2013, Liu Ts'ui-jung (???), vice president of the nation's top research institute Academia Sinica, lost NT$20 million to a fraudster who posed as a prosecutor.

Police said that many military personnel, government officials, engineers and researchers have been duped, because their working environment tends to be more insular, making them less vigilant about being defrauded.

According to the police, those with an academic background or wealth are often unable to accept that they might have been cheated.

A lot of the people will not admit falling prey to fraudsters because "they are used to teaching others and cannot bring themselves to admit they need guidance," one police officer said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel