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SoCal man arrested for alleged ransomware scam on San Mateo County resident

PIX Now - Morning Edition 3/15/24
PIX Now - Morning Edition 3/15/24 08:48

Deputies arrested a man for allegedly swindling a San Mateo County resident earlier this week by sending malware to the victim's computer, the Sheriff's Office said.

The 62-year-old resident was scammed through ransomware, which was successfully conducted by the suspect by first contacting him through email, which led to phone calls, and eventually gaining control of his computer remotely.

Authorities said the suspect allegedly posed as a representative of a large antivirus and cyber security software company and told the man he qualified for a refund. Over a few hours, the victim was told he needed to pay a large sum of cash to supposedly correct an error in the refund amount.

According to investigators, the suspect arrived at the victim's residence a few hours later and collected the money.

The following day, the victim contacted the Sheriff's Office and reported being victimized by a scam. Following an investigation, the suspect was identified as 38-year-old Hongliang He of Southern California.

Hongliang He
Hongliang He San Mateo County Sheriff's Office

Hongliang was later arrested and booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility on suspicion of various crimes, such as obtaining money by false pretenses and conspiracy to commit crime.

Investigators believe this is part of a larger international scam, saying they are working to identify other perpetrators involved in this scam and believe there may be more victims.

The public was s advised to use caution and avoid sharing personal banking details with anyone who solicits that online or over the phone, especially when they ask for money.

Those with further information about this case were encouraged to contact Detective Matthew West at or 650-363-4050. Anonymous tips can also be provided through the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office tip line at (800) 547-2700.

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