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Local police help Aussie firm recover US$860,000

    Thanks to Shanghai police, an Australian company that had almost lost US$860,000 to e-mail scammers got the money back yesterday.

    The company’s financial personnel transferred the money to a scam account after receiving an e-mail which they mistakenly assumed was from the company’s managing director, demanding funds for a business merger, police said.

    Police at the Free Trade Zone in Shanghai received a report of the case since the scam account, which was an offshore bank account, was opened at a Shanghai Pudong Development Bank branch.

    In the end, the account was frozen before the money could be withdrawn by the scammers.

    Though the case happened in August 2016, police said the money was withheld for a long time before it could be returned to the company’s account because it was an international transfer.

    Paul Vine, company secretary of the Australian company “IOOF,” traveled to Shanghai this week to express the firm’s gratitude to Shanghai police.

    Vine recalled that the company had almost lost hope of getting the money back before engaging Shanghai police as SPD Bank told them that it could freeze the money for only 48 hours.

    A lawyer based in Shanghai, who was hired by the company to handle the case, reported it to the police six hours before the money was to be released into the scam account. The police prepared all the required paperwork for the case in time, which allowed the bank to extend the money-freeze period.

    Police officer Zheng Lei said person behind the scam has been arrested.