Police said they have launched a new search engine to help the public detect scams after a surge in fraud cases.
Officers said they'd recorded 14,160 technology-related crime cases in the first eight months of this year – 40 percent up from the same period last year – while phone scams nearly doubled.
"Because of the digitalised era, the scammers make good use of technology to commit crime. For telephone deceptions, I believe that during the Covid pandemic, the scammers disguise to be government officials like the Department of Health to deceive (people)," said Wilson Fan, a superintendent from the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau.
In view of this, he said the police have set up a search engine called "Scameter", where people can search for information such as names and phone numbers when they receive suspicious calls or unsolicited messages.
It will tell people the level of risks by showing different colours, with red indicating "high risk", orange "suspected risk", yellow "possible risk" and purple "no record" found.
Fan said purple doesn't mean the searched item is risk-free.
"Our Scameter database does not cover all the scams or cyber risks. So the colours are only an indication of risk levels. Citizens should take their own responsibility to check other digital footprints," he said.
The database contains more than 20,000 entries of suspicious data. "Our database is big and quite unique because the daily police reports will be an index in our database. To enrich our database, we have invited Hong Kong Junk Call and another tech company Check Point to provide data for our indexing," Fan said.
"I hope our search engine can raise awareness of the citizens and provide a comprehensive tool for them to avoid cyber pitfalls."
He added that if people believe the search result is mislabelled as suspicious and does not involve fraudulent purposes, they can report it to the police.