Police issue warning over Chinese phone scam

  • 01/06/2018

New Zealand is under attack again by phone scammers targeting the Chinese community.

Police are warning the public to hang up immediately if they receive a suspicious call, with reports the scammers have already made off with millions of dollars overseas.

"Police are warning the public about a recent phone scam targeting members of the Chinese community," says Auckland City Financial Crime Unit Detective Senior Sergeant Bridget Doell.

"We have received multiple complaints relating to a fake kidnapping phone scam from offshore."

One scam starts when members of the public receive automated messages in Mandarin claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate. Victims are then instructed to provide their own personal details, as well as those of their family members in China.

The scam then involves calling the family members in China and claiming the individual in New Zealand has been kidnapped and demanding money.

In another scam, victims receive a recorded message telling them they have a parcel to pick up from the Chinese Embassy.

When they call back they are transferred to a scammer who demands money and threatens to hurt the victim and their friends and family.

Det Snr Sgt Doell says international students are the main target of the scammers.

"Our message to the public is simple - do not engage with anyone on the phone if you think you are being scammed," she says.

"Government agencies will never ask for your personal information on the phone and you should never give out private details to people you do not know and trust.

"If you think someone is trying to scam you, cease all contact immediately and contact your local Police or consulate immediately."