Scam targeting Chinese New Zealanders increased 30pc this year

Chinese New Zealanders are being warned about a huge increase in scam calls targeting them this year. 

People posting to the Asians in New Zealand Facebook page have reported receiving "weird phone calls" regarding picking up a document or parcel from the Chinese Embassy.

"I get these automated calls almost 2-3 times a week, it's so annoying. I block the number but they keep calling with a different number. I feel there's no end to this," one person said.

"I got a call mid-day and it was pretty weird because I am not even a Chinese passport holder to start with," another said. 

"I tried to bait for some information from this guy but all he said is he will find out from his leader what is going on and will contact me later…it began with an automated message to tell you to press 8 to find out what the message is, and then you talk to a person and he speaks in mandarin to you, he sounded like he's unfamiliar with his script though, anyway, watch out for scammers please."

One woman told Newshub she and her flatmate received several calls where the caller spoke Mandarin - but they "do not understand Chinese at all".

Netsafe told Newshub it has received many reports of the scam since 2019 however there has been a 31.8 percent increase in reports compared to the last calendar year.

"Scammers call people with names that could belong to Chinese nationals by spoofing the phone number of the Chinese Embassy," a spokesperson said.

"They often claim that they are going to connect the customer with Chinese police. This is a scam that has targeted people all over the world."

Netsafe is urging New Zealanders to take action in relation to the scam. including:

Verify who you’re speaking with. Ask the person who they are calling on behalf of, find their publicly listed number in your phonebook and call them yourself to verify if this is legitimate before sharing any information or money. This applies even if the caller ID appears to show the correct number.

If you’ve sent money, notify your bank or whichever organisation was used to send the payment.

If you’ve shared sensitive personal information contact an identity protection service such as iDCare for free help and support.

Where information from a passport has been lost, contact Immigration New Zealand.

Report the call to your phone company including the number the call came from and the time and date the call was received.