Intimidated by a bogus arrest warrant forged by swindlers, Mr. Li of Qujing, Yunnan Province, became the victim of a phone scam which was soon uncovered local police - but after turning down 68 warning calls from real cops, he reported being conned out of over RMB16,000 by fake ones.
When Li finally went to the police station accompanied by his family, he told them that a self-claimed "policeman" had contacted him that morning, confronting him with a money-laundering case and asking him to receive a fax at a nearby copy shop.
Finding an arrest warrant for himself posted there, he was so terrified that he transferred RMB16,123 to a "secured account" to clear his name.
After a couple of students also spotted the "arrest warrant" at the print shop, the owner immediately made the connection to Li, who had just left, and reported it to police.
"It must be him," said the owner, "I noticed that something was off about him."
But the so-called warrant was confirmed fake by responding policeman Wu Zexue, who pointed out that no official seal was stamped and the date was incorrectly inscribed. Figuring it could be a potential scam, Wu immediately reported this to the 110 Command Center.
"This method is typical," says Wu. "The swindlers masquerade as law enforcement personnel to trick the victim with forged documents. Once you're spooked, you'll transfer whatever figure they specify to their 'secured account.'"
Over the next six hours, the local police station kept calling and texting Li, attempting to warn him about the scam, but couldn't get through. Meanwhile, they also contacted local banks to check if any transfers were conducted via Li's account. Unfortunately, however, Li was in such a panic that he turned down every single call from legitimate law enforcement.
Moral of the story: if someone calls you 68 times, it's probably pretty urgent. Pick up your phone. That and you don't typically get to just transfer various sums to police depending on the severity of your crime in order to clear your name - at least not in theory.