Here is the scheme.
The identity thief logs in as my American friend in the instant messaging program QQ. (Did he steal her password or use some other exploit? I don't know.)
The thief contact's my friend's Chinese mother and says that 'her' friend in China needs money for hospital bills. The thief claims that 'her' phone has fallen in water so the mother cannot call her daughter.
The fake daughter puts the mother in contact with the 'injured friend' (really the thief). They chat in Chinese for a while, until she agrees to send the money.
The mother sends the maximum allowable amount by Western Union Transfer but becomes suspicious when when the thief asks for even more money.
I know that it is a long shot, but is there anything that I could do to try and find the scammer's identity? Are there any mistakes he may have made that would help me to identify him?
The Police in China have already been notified, but the enforcement on these sorts of crimes is notoriously bad in China. I want to at least make at attempt to track down this guy.