Scammers Use Southern Taiwan Mayor’s Name to Swindle Relatives

Photo by Anecdoteak via Wikimedia Commons

A couple in southern Taiwan’s Dalin Township were almost scammed out of NT$250,000 (US$8064) recently after receiving a call purportedly from Mayor Chien Chih-wei (簡志偉). The couple that received the call on September 18 were Chien’s distant relatives.

The phone call — the second reported in six months — claimed that the Mayor Chien was in debt due to campaign expenses and needed money for emergency treatment, UDN reported. The caller added that he was embarrassed to tell anyone of the financial difficulties. The caller then provided another phone number from which he called the following day.

After a third call, the couple reportedly went to the Chunghwa Post to send money to help the “mayor.” However, Post Office staff noticed red flags in the money transfer and contacted the authorities.

Mayor Chien noted that a similar scam was attempted in April. Chien thanked Chunghwa Post staff for preventing the fraud to go through, which would have cost the family a significant amount of savings. He added that he would not request money from anyone over the phone and asked residents to remain vigilant when encountering such calls.

Chunghwa Post Dalin Branch Director Wu Chun-wei (吳俊緯) said that the public must remain skeptical of such calls. If they receive suspicious calls from relatives, they should contact the 165 anti-fraud hotline.

This is not the first time a politician’s name has been invoked in a fraudulent operation. Shortly after his presidential victory, a man claiming to be Donald Trump insisted a New Taipei man withdraw NT$2.5 million from his account.

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