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CIB warns of restaurant gift certificate deception

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB, 刑事警察局) yesterday warned against the recent rise in Internet-based scams relating to chain restaurants' gift certificates, urging the public to refrain from falling victim to seemingly steep discounts.

The CIB stated that since May of this year, 19 individuals have fallen victim to fraudulent Internet-based sellers peddling gift certificates of renowned restaurant chains, being duped for a total of NT$1.92 million.

According to CIB, a women surnamed Jiang (江) had came across an advertisement posted on a social network offering steep discounts on gift certificates. After a few successful initial orders, Jiang had began to up the ante with additional orders for more gift certificates, pooling the funds of her friends and family. The seller, however, began to grow increasingly erratic in fulfilling sales obligations, with each order falling short by hundreds of certificates each time. As the seller had promised Jiang to reimburse her eventually, she continued to place orders and submit payments. By July, with NT$1.79 million in certificates owed, the seller had ceased all contact with Jiang, leaving her able to do nothing but alert authorities.

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