International students have been cautioned by Victoria Police to be aware of scammers posing as officials claiming to be from the Chinese Government or Chinese police.
Scammers have been known to contact their victims by directly calling their mobile phones or through popular social media networks like WeChat and Whatsapp.
The scam, which has already affected several students in Melbourne who’ve lost large sums of money, involves fraudulent callers posing as officials from the Chinese Government and Chinese police.
In an example provided by Victoria Police, one Chinese student was coerced into believing her family in China were in danger after scammers informed her that her credit card information was being used for money laundering. Concurrently, scammers had also contacted her family, claiming she had been kidnapped. Scammers threatened to harm her if money was not transferred into a Chinese bank account.
The Chinese Consulate-General and Chinese Embassy have both confirmed they would never request personal information from Chinese citizens and have been made aware of the scam.
“The Chinese Embassy in Australia would like to remind the public that if you have received calls or had missed calls from either 02-62283999 or 02-62283948, please disregard these calls as they are both scam calls and it is NOT generated from the Chinese Embassy or any other Consulates in Australia,” the Chinese Embassy said in an official statement.
Victoria Police is also seeking the assistance of students who’ve been targeted by scammers. To aid authorities, Victoria Police is encouraging students to provide screen shots of messages delivered to their social media channels and to retain phone call records. Victims and targets are asked to contact their local police station.
Further advice on scams can be found at Scamwatch which has conveniently translated information in Chinese languages.
Students with relevant information pertaining to the scams, but who wish to remain anonymous, can also contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.