Girl drains $116,000 from mother’s bank account after falling for mobile phone game scam

The mother had more than 10 years’ worth of savings transferred out of her WeChat and bank accounts. Photo via Unsplash/Markus Winkler
The mother had more than 10 years’ worth of savings transferred out of her WeChat and bank accounts. Photo via Unsplash/Markus Winkler

A 10-year-old girl drained HK$116,000 (US$15,100) from her mother’s WeChat and bank accounts after falling for a scam on her mobile phone.

According to HK01, the girl, who lives in Tin Shui Wai with her family, was playing a sandbox game called Mini World on her mother’s phone on Tuesday when she was approached by a fellow gamer. The person told her that she could receive free in-app bonuses—specifically, free “skin” to modify her avatar—if she scanned a QR code.

When she scanned it, she received a scam message stating that her WeChat bank account is frozen and will be permanently locked if it is not re-activated in 30 minutes.

She was then instructed to point the phone at her mother to use the facial recognition feature to “unlock” the account, and was also tricked into purchasing 10 game cards for HK$1,170 (US$150) each.

Later, the mother noticed her daughter was crying. She told her what happened and when she checked her WeChat Pay account, was shocked to see that around HK$58,475 (US$7,542) was missing, and that a similar sum had disappeared from her bank account.

Read more: Married woman sues to recover HK$330,000 after online romance scam

The mother, surnamed So, told HK01 that she and her two daughters, aged eight and 10, rely on her husband’s small business for income. She said the money she lost was saved up over a period of about 10 years and was meant for emergency situations.

“I don’t have any sense of safety. I really want to cry, I feel so depressed,” she said.

Police confirmed with Coconuts that they received a report from a 39-year-old woman about funds being illegitimately transferred out of her accounts. They are investigating the incident as a case of obtaining property by deception.

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: CRIME

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