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Phone Scam Alert
2018/06/19

The Chinese Consulate-General in Brisbane received a number of phone calls from the public, saying that they got phone calls or voice messages which claimed to be from Chinese Consulate-General and reminded them to pick up a parcel or a document from the Consulate-General, or asked them to answer the inquiry on criminal cases that they are allegedly involved in. All of these phone calls have been proved to be scam trap. The victims and their families have suffered economic losses and severe psychological trauma.
 
In those cases, the scammer contacts their victims via phone, claiming to be from either Chinese Embassy/Consulate or authorities in China, such as procuratorial, judicial and public security organs, or Interpol. The scammer may say they have important documents awaiting for collection (such as the court summons or Bank statement). They also may claim the victim's bank account is compromised and has been used for criminal operations.

The victims will be told that they are suspected to personally involve in a crime, for example money laundering or embezzlement. To avoid jail or deportation, the victims will then be suggested to transfer large sum of fund to get a bail or "priority investigation" to prove their innocence. The scammers also try to lure the victims to disclose their personal information such as address, passport number and banking details.

Another typical pattern of frauds is so-called "virtual kidnapping". The scammer may contact the parents of overseas Chinese students, saying their children have been kidnapped and claiming ransom (the scammer may also be misappropriating the victim's phone number through technical means). For some reasons, the parents may fail to contact their children due to time difference or other causes, and therefore reckon the "kidnapping" true and transfer fund into the designated account. In some extreme scenarios, the scammer even coaxes the victims into acting together in the "kidnapping" plot, or coerces them to take pornographic photos or videos in order to blackmail their families.

The sammer aims to create fear in the victim so they don't question the story and will give out valuable confidential information which can then be used for financial gain by the scammer. If the money is annexed by the scammer's account, it is likely lost and will be extremely hard to return.

The Chinese Consulate-General in Brisbane would like to remind the public of following:

1) Chinese Consulate-General in Brisbane would not ask for personal information, deliver parcel pick-up notice or ask people to answer inquiries from police department by way of phone calls. The Consulate-General would not ask for bank account information.

2) The application for passport or travel document is an act of personal will, the Chinese Embassies/Consulates would not call to notify Chinese nationals of the expiration, renewal or replacement of their travel documents and relevant fees or fines, nor will they seek any personal financial information via phone in this regard. Consequently, please do not trust any phone calls claiming to be from Chinese Embassy/Consulate requiring personal information.

3)  Should anyone receive an uninvited call like the aforementioned, do not disclose name, address, family status, bank account and other personal details to the caller. Do not trust any call that asks for cutting off contact with your family or friends to keep them safe, or that offers other unreasonable advice. Should anyone receive a call informing of a "traffic accident", "the child being kidnapped", " death of a relative by accident" or any other information likewise, please remain calm and wait for verification through other channels. Please be advised that even if the Embassies or Consulates in an emergency call notify of the above emergencies, they would not require bank accounts or money transfer. Should it be impossible to tell if it is a scam, it is highly recommended that you hang up and dial the consular assistance hotline of the local Chinese Embassy/Consulate to verify the relevant information. The assitance hotline of Chinese Consulate-General in Brisbane is 07-30128090.

4) Should anyone be scammed unfortunately, please report it to the local police immediately. Overseas Chinese victims are also advised to report to Chinese domestic police (by dialing 110). You may get further assistance from the followings:
·Australian identity and cyber support service IDCARE. Contact them via the online form (http://www.idcare.org/get-help-now) or phone: 1300432273.
·The Scamwatch website. It has information about scams in Chinese languages (https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/about-scamwatch/tools-resources/in-your-language).

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