Peru Has Become A Hub For Scam Slavery In Recent Years, With Criminals Using Increasingly Sophisticated Methods To Lure Victims Into Their Traps
44 Asian migrants (43 Malaysians) were held captive as scam slaves by the Taiwanese criminal organization Red Dragon, who were used to extort money from victims abroad via telephone calls from Lima,
This type of scammers in Peru and Southeast Asia often target vulnerable people, such as those who are unemployed or have financial difficulties in Asia and Latin America.
They may offer victims lucrative jobs or investment opportunities, but once the victims arrive in Peru, they are forced to work long hours in dangerous conditions and their passports are confiscated.
One of the most common types of scam slavery in Peru is phone scams. Scammers will force captives to call people in other countries and pretend to be from a legitimate company, such as a bank or government agency. They will then try to convince the victims to give them personal information or money. Once the victims have given up their information, the scammers can use it to steal their money or identity.
Another common type of scam slavery in Peru is Pig Butchering investment scams. Scammers force the slaves to offer victims the opportunity to invest in a lucrative business or investment opportunity. However, once the victims have invested their money, the scammers will disappear and the victims will lose all of their money.
Scammers are also using increasingly sophisticated methods to target people on social media. They create fake profiles and pretend to be romantic partners or friends. Once they have gained the victim’s trust, they may ask the victim to come to Peru to visit them. However, once the prospect job seeker arrives in Peru, they are forced into slavery.
The Peruvian government is working to combat scam slavery, but it is a difficult problem to solve. Scammers are often well-organized and operate across borders. The government is working to raise awareness of scam slavery and to help victims who have been trafficked to Peru.
In two stories from AP, Peruvian scam slavers held dozens of Malaysian scam slaves in call centers to perform phone scams.
From AP – October 9, 2023
43 Malaysians were caught in a phone scam operation in Peru and rescued from human traffickers
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia said Monday that 43 citizens have been rescued by police in Peru after they fell victim to a human trafficking syndicate operating a telecommunication fraud.
They Malaysians were involved in the so-called “Macau scam” that reportedly originates from crime syndicates in Taiwan and China, in which scammers impersonate banks or a public official to trick a person into disclosing their personal banking details or transfer money into a third-party account.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Peruvian police found the 43 Malaysians after raiding a house in La Molina in the capital Lima on Oct. 7. It said the Malaysian Embassy in Lima had visited them and found them in good condition.
“All victims have also undergone an investigation process and will be repatriated to Malaysia” soon, it said. No further details were provided on how the Malaysians were ensnared by the syndicate or how they ended up in Peru.
Activists and government officials say hundreds of Malaysians have been lured by lucrative job offers in Southeast Asian nations such as Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, only to end up being made to defraud online users with internet romances and cryptocurrency schemes.
From AP – October 10, 2023
43 Malaysians freed from phone scam syndicate in Peru were young people who arrived a week earlier
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The 43 Malaysians rescued from a human trafficking syndicate operating a telecommunication fraud in Peru were young people who had arrived in Lima just a week earlier, Malaysian police said Tuesday.
The Malaysians were ensnared in a scam that reportedly originates from crime syndicates in Taiwan and China, in which scammers impersonate banks or a public official to trick a person into disclosing personal banking information or transfer money. Hundreds of Malaysians have been lured by job offers in other Southeast Asian nations only to end up being forced to defraud people through online romance or cryptocurrency schemes.
“This is the first such (trafficking) case in Peru (involving Malaysians). We are trying to do our best to educate Malaysians including on social media but these job scams still happen,” Malaysian police chief Razarudin Husain told a news conference.
The 26 women and 17 men arrived in Peru on Sept. 29 and were fortunate to have been freed on Saturday after Peruvian police raided a house in La Molina in the capital Lima, he said.
Three of the Malaysians are just 18 and the oldest in the group is 36, he said.
The Foreign Ministry has said the 43 victims were in good condition and would be repatriated to Malaysia once investigation in Lima was completed.
Razarudin said the 43 victims left Malaysia legally and that police were still investigating details of how they were recruited, and how they ended up in Peru.
The Utusan Malaysia newspaper reported that two of the women escaped from the house in an affluent neighborhood and were taken to the police after seeking help from a neighbor. The daily, citing local reports in Peru, said the initial investigation had identified the syndicate involved as The Red Dragon of Taiwan and that mobile phones, debit cards and cash had been seized.