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90-Year-Old Woman Loses £23 Million In 'Largest Phone Scam Ever'

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90-Year-Old Woman Loses £23 Million In 'Largest Phone Scam Ever'

A 90-year-old woman has been fleeced out of almost $33 million (£23.58m) in what could be the largest phone scam ever.

The elderly woman, who lives in Hong Kong, and who has not been named, was contacted last year by someone purporting to be a Chinese official.

During a phone call in August, the stranger told the woman that her identity was being used in a money laundering scheme on mainland China.

However, they assured her that everything was under control and that the authorities were investigating it.

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According to South China Morning Post, a man then visited her home in a particularly affluent part of Hong Kong.

A police statement given to CNN said the man gave the woman a mobile phone, and told her that she needed to send money to a separate account - one that she was unable to access herself - in order to help them catch the perpetrators, which she did.

Hong Kong. Credit: PA
Hong Kong. Credit: PA

Over several months, she made 11 bank transfers, which by March 2021 had totalled an eye-watering $32.8m.

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It was only when a member of her staff became suspicious of the alleged investigation that she contacted the woman's daughter and informed her of what had been going on.

The police statement seen by CNN adds that Chinese authorities had arrested a 19-year-old in connected with the fraud, however, they had since been released on bail.

Police have said that the investigation is ongoing and that there may be more arrests yet.

It is not clear whether the woman will recoup her losses.

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Earlier this year, it was revealed that a woman had been 'scammed out of $100,000' after falling in love with a fake Bruno Mars account.

Chinwendu Azuonwu, of Houston, Texas, was charged with third-degree felony money laundering after it was alleged that he posed as the musician online.

According to the documents relating to the charges, Azuonwu, 39, originally from Nigeria, was connected to a scheme between September and October 2018 that took thousands of dollars from a 63-year-old woman from north Texas.

Bruno Mars. Credit: PA
Bruno Mars. Credit: PA
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The woman claims that she had created an Instagram account in the hope of finding some companionship and was contacted by a person pretending to be the 'Just the Way You Are' singer.

She told the authorities that she had fallen in love with the person running the account, believing that it was Mars as he had sent her a number of texts and photos of him while on tour.

'Mars' then allegedly asked her to send him a $10,000 check to a 'friend of the band' to pay for 'tour expenses'. The money was later deposited into an account at JPMorgan Chase.

Two days later, the woman was asked to draw out more money, this time a cashier's check totalling an eye-watering $90,000, made out to a 'Chi Autos'.

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The second amount was deposited on 14 September 2018 to a separate account with JPMorgan Chase.

According to reports, each of the accounts were traced back to Azuonwu and his alleged accomplice Basil Amadi, 29.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, phones, Money, Hong Kong, crime, Scam, China

Dominic Smithers
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