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Police say ‘virtual kidnapping’ scam targeting Chinese students

Key Point:
  • A new scam has been reported targeting Chinese students studying abroad to extort money.
  • In some cases, victims were so frightened that they planned the kidnappings themselves so that they could pay their families.
  • Chinese officials are so concerned that they have made the unusual decision to appear before the Australian media.
Scammers have “virtually kidnapped” Chinese students to extort money from their families, police said.
Malicious attackers call their targets without warning, speak in Mandarin Chinese, and pretend to work for Chinese authorities (embassies, consulates, police, prosecutors, etc.).
of The scammer said, “Let me introduce myself first. I am a police officer of the Public Security Bureau. …We are recording you. No other people are allowed to be present during this call.” Told.
New South Wales Police Superintendent Joe Dweich said Sydney alone received four reports of what he called a “virtual kidnapping” scam last month.
They can be “random or targeted,” he said, and usually begin with a solicitation call to “young Chinese students.”
“Victims are said to have committed certain crimes and must pay to avoid arrest or deportation,” he said.

“Victims have also been threatened with harm to their families in China, and threatened to harm their families in China if they do not comply with the perpetrators’ demands.”

One family transferred $270,000 while another victim transferred $20,000 of his own money to an offshore account.
“Victims were forced to fake abduction, take vulnerable pictures of themselves, send the pictures to their families in China, and ask them to pay a ransom for their release,” Dweich said. said.
Police have confirmed a surge in these scams in 2020, but the numbers have fallen after a massive media campaign and the departure of Chinese students from Australia at the height of the pandemic.
Chinese officials are so concerned about the new reports that they have made the unusual decision to appear before the Australian media.
Zhang Zhengping, a police liaison officer at the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, said virtual kidnapping has become one of the most prominent forms of wire fraud.

He said the embassy plans to work closely with police to review existing practices to crack down on fraud.

“This crime has no borders, no nationality. There is no discrimination. It occurs at all ages, genders and socio-economic levels,” he said.
Adding to the police concern list, there are also reports that scammers are using technology to mirror official phone numbers to further trick victims into believing the call is genuine.

Police say people receiving fraudulent calls should just hang up.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/inside-the-scam-coercing-scared-students-into-faking-their-own-kidnappings/8xigfy7iv Police say ‘virtual kidnapping’ scam targeting Chinese students

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