A fake bank that operated just like a real one, managed to usurp over $32 Million of customers’ money.
Now-a-days, majority of the crimes involving money, take place online. However, a fake bank in China operated a physical branch in the eastern city of Nanjing for an entire year, before abruptly shuttering operations. Before police could get a wind of the scam, the bank had swindled almost 200 million Yuan ($32million).
The fake bank closely resembled a genuine establishment, complete with uniformed clerks behind counters, LED screens displaying financial information and even fake credentials. The “bank” was called Nanjing Mou Village Economic Cooperation Unit. It operated like any bank and managed to gain the trust of over 200 customers, who began depositing their hard-earned cash with the establishment.
The ‘bank’ promised interest rates of 2 percent per week and high interest subsidies, revealed the authorities who busted the operation. These were quite fantastical rates for any bank, but it was not the abnormality of the rates that raised the suspicion of the customers. A businessman in May of last year, clearly attracted by the rates, handed over 12 million yuan ($1.9 million).
However, his suspicions rose when the ‘bank’ didn’t deposit the promised interest on his money after the first four weeks had passed. His initial attempts to contact the bank proved futile and later he was completely ignored. Growing vary of the bank’s evasive tactics, the businessman finally approached the police, who promptly launched an investigation.
Investigations revealed that the ‘bank’ was in fact just a lowly rural cooperative, which had none of the accreditations required to operate as a bank. It was learnt that the entire operation was licensed merely as an agriculture consultancy and not as a financial institution. However, the fact that the organization operated for an entire year has left many weary of the local law enforcement too. Nonetheless, police have managed to round up five people over the scam, including a woman who reportedly high-tailed it to Macau, China’s famous gambling center, with the customers’ money.
Surprisingly, such scams are quite the norm in China. In the past, the Chinese have opened fake Apple Stores, whose employees actually believed they were hired by the Cupertino-based company. Another scam involved an entire university, in which hundreds of students studied for four years, before realizing it wasn’t legitimate.
While the customers are lamenting over their loss, China continues to churn-out such spurious products and services.