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Evil scammers target the Australian Chinese community

ACCC Scamwatch reports Australian Chinese community targeted by Scammers

In 2018, ACCC Scamwatch received nearly 1700 reports about scams targeting the Australian Chinese community involving threats of arrest and extortion, with losses totalling $1.15 million. Losses were reported in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia; but the scam is targeting people nationwide.

“In May, there was a 400 per cent increase in reports of these scams and losses more than doubled,” ACCC Acting Chair Delia Rickard said.

First scam

There are two main variations of this scam. First, a scammer speaking in Mandarin will call directly or leave an ‘urgent’ voice message to call back. The scammer impersonates a parcel delivery service and/or Chinese authorities, and claim the person is in serious trouble as they intercepted a package addressed to them with fraudulent documents such as fake passports.

The scammer then threatens extradition to China to face criminal charges unless money is sent to them. They claim this money is needed to prove the person’s innocence while they investigate the supposed crime.

Second scam

Recently there have been multiple reports of a variation of this scam, targeting Chinese students in Australia where the scammer will claim to student victims that they have been involved in criminal activity and threaten them, and even their family, with criminal sanctions unless they pretend they have been kidnapped, including by taking photos of themselves bound and gagged. The scammers then use the photos to extort money from the student’s family by claiming the student has been kidnapped.

Report scams

Members of the Chinese community in Australia need to be aware about how these scams work and warn their friends and family. Report scams to www.scamwatch.gov.au



This article was written by Margaret Miller, partner at Bell Legal Group. It is general in nature, is not legal advice and must not be relied on as such. If you need assistance relating to the topics discussed, please contact Margaret to obtain advice specific to your circumstances. Call 07 5597 3366 or send an email to mmiller@belllegal.com.au