Victoria Police is issuing a new warning about a scam targeting the Mandarin-speaking community. The scam operates worldwide, including in Victoria.
The scam involves:
- Pre-recorded messages in Mandarin left via voicemail or on social media networks such as WeChat and WhatsApp
- A message telling victims they have a parcel on hold for them
- Threats to transfer large sums of money
- Extortion via fake kidnappings
- Threats of deportation or arrest
Victoria Police first received reports of the scam in July 2017 and they stopped occurring after COVID-19 restrictions. However, since Chinese students have returned to university, they are seeing the same criminal tactics being used by scammers.
What to look out for:
- If you receive a random phone call from someone claiming to be a government official of Chinese police telling you that you are suspected of committing a crime, hang up.
- If you have any doubts about someone who says they are from a government department, contact the department directly. Don’t use any phone numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller. Find the correct number through an independent source or through an online search (official website).
- Do not provide or confirm any personal details to anyone over the phone unless you made the call yourself.
- Never send money via wire transfer or cryptocurrency to anyone who requests it over the phone unless you made the call yourself.
- If you are unsure about any phone calls, emails or messages, do not comply with any requests – talk it over with someone you trust, or the Victoria Police.
Visit the Scamwatch website for more information about current scams in Chinese languages.
If you are a victim
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, please refer to the Victoria Police fact sheet for information on how to report it and get help.