FRAUDSTERS are again targeting Chinese students studying in Australia.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) warns that a series of complex social engineering fraud and telephone scams are targeting both Australian and international victims from non-English speaking backgrounds.
The AFP says these scams rely on the victims maintaining ongoing contact with the scammers to make the scam appear legitimate.
It can include receiving a call or a message indicating you are wanted for tax avoidance and immediate payment is required to avoid arrest, or that you have a package or letter from a Chinese Government official, which alleges you are implicated in criminal activity either in Australia or overseas.
Known scam activity includes the false representation of the Chinese Public Security Bureau known as a ‘virtual kidnap and extortion scam’; The Australian Tax Office (ATO) or ‘tax impersonation scam’; contact with a bogus Chinese embassy official known the ‘Chinese embassy scam’; and a logistics provider or ‘package notification scam’.
Warning signs include repeated requests for increasing levels of personal information; being threatened with deportation or arrest; being put in contact with multiple people who say they are members of the Chinese Public Security Bureau; and demands to only communicate via encrypted video and online chat applications such as WhatsApp, WeChat and QQ.
Some victims have also been coerced into isolating themselves by cutting off contact with friends and family, or to move out of home and into accommodation such as a hotel or apartment.
Scammers often include messaging not to contact the authorities, police or their local Chinese embassy or consulate.
If you receive a call you think is a scam or a fraud, don’t respond or follow the message prompts to call back. Cease all contact with the scammer and contact local police or consulate immediately.
For more information, visit scamwatch.gov.au, the cyber.gov.au/reportor or contact local police.