Scammers have developed new strategies to extract personal information and money amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan, the Taichung Police Department said on Sunday.
The department provided advice to avoid online scams amid a surge in reports of people posing as contact tracing officials or e-commerce platforms.
Scammers have developed new strategies to extract information and money, it said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Some pose as contact tracing officials, messaging targets to tell them that they have been listed as a contact of a confirmed case, it said.
They ask for the target’s birthdate, national identification number, family members and other information, the department said.
Contact tracing personnel do not ask for ID numbers or bank accounts, police said, adding that if in doubt, people should ask the person to identify themselves.
To avoid inadvertently spreading misinformation, people can follow the Centers for Disease Control Line account to receive the latest COVID-19-related news or call 1922 to ask about reports, the department said.
Special Act for Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens (嚴重特殊傳染性肺炎防治及紓困振興特別條例) stipulates that individuals who spread rumors or disinformation about COVID-19 that risk harming the public interest can face a maximum prison term of three years and a possible fine of NT$3 million (US$108,292).
Scammers are also looking to take advantage of the increase in online shopping under a level 3 COVID-19 alert, the department said.
They often create simple one-page advertisements for popular products using images of celebrity “spokespeople” and directly message people to circumvent e-commerce platform rules, it said.
Such scams often have prices far below market norms and do not provide contact information, it said.
People should only use credible stores and avoid private transactions, it said.
Online transactions indirectly increase the risk of personal spending records being leaked, the department said.
Scammers can use these records to claim that a product has been mistakenly refunded or payments have been canceled to trick people into sending them money, it said.
People who receive such calls should hang up immediately and dial the 165 hotline, it added.
The National Police Agency urged people to check the recipient details of automatically generated real-name registration text messages amid reports that people have tampered with QR codes.
Scammers have been swapping government QR codes in front of stores with ones that, instead of sending a text message to 1922, send one to a number with an expensive toll, it said.
A video allegedly featuring retired general Kao An-kuo (高安國) calling on Taiwanese military officers to surrender to China and overthrow the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has sparked outrage and calls for him to be charged with treason. The video, titled “A message to Taiwanese military officers,” allegedly shows Kao saying: “I call on commanding officers of our military troops to stand up for Chinese nationalism, to take up this duty under heaven’s mandate to save Taiwanese from oppression and terrible suffering.” Dressed in military fatigues and a beret, the lieutenant general called on officers to overthrow the “fraudulent DPP regime,”
‘NOT IMPOSSIBLE’: Acceptance to the UN would end the nation’s troubles, but it would be impossible to achieve without US backing, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun said The US might recognize Taiwan if war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday while discussing politics with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Speaking on Chen’s program on Smile Radio, You reminisced about his agrarian childhood, studies, the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party in 1986 and his eight years as Yilan County commissioner. Chen’s appointment of You as premier in February 2002 marked several firsts, as he was Taiwan’s youngest premier, as well as the first from a farming background and first democratically elected county leader to hold the office. Asked to share his views on
ONLY EXCEPTIONS: The mayors of the two largest cities voiced concerns over hidden cases, while all other local governments are to follow eased CECC guidelines All local governments, with the exception of Taipei and New Taipei City, are to allow dine-in services at restaurants after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that it would on Tuesday lower a nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 2. The center on July 8 allowed the resumption of dining at restaurants nationwide — despite keeping the alert level at 3. At the time, this prompted all cities and counties, except Penghu Country, to keep local dine-in bans in place. Following Friday’s CECC announcement that COVID-19 prevention measures would be further relaxed, the Taipei and New Taipei City governments
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday rejected the claim Beijing has been making about Taiwan’s status, while thanking US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman for raising concerns about Taiwan during her meeting with Chinese officials. Sherman met with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) on a visit to Tianjin on Sunday and Monday, with Wang urging Washington not to infringe on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Taiwan is part of China, a fundamental fact that would never change, and China has the right to take any action needed to restrain Taiwanese independence, Wang said, urging Washington to abide