Over the past few months there has been a number of reports of Chinese students being targeted and extorted out of considerable amounts of money.
These scams take on a number of forms but the common factors are that a person speaking Chinese contacts the victim and purports to be an official (customs officer, immigration officer, embassy/consulate official, Police Officer, Prosecutor). The ‘official’ then suggests that the victim has been involved in a criminal act and then demands that monies be paid to avoid arrest or prosecution.
Variations of the scam include (but are not exclusive to) the following methods:
- Persuading the victim to ‘stage’ a kidnap scenario in order that relatives can be contacted to pay a ransom.
- Victim is contacted by a supposed courier company stating that the victim has sent a package which has been received in China. The victim is then told to phone a number which is then answered by a ‘Police Officer’ who accuses the victim of being involved in criminal activity and then demands money.
- Victims are often asked to provide passport and personal details including bank account information.
- Victims are sometimes asked to download a messenger app which is used to communicate with the fraudsters.
The persons or groups carrying out these frauds are often very persuasive and appear to be very plausible. If you receive an unsolicited phone call or email:
- Do not provide any personal or banking information
- Do not transfer any money
- If you have any doubts about the authenticity of a person then contact the Police
Northumbria Police non-emergency number: 101
Northumbria Police emergency number: 999
Campus Police Officer (PC 8964 Miller): 07736464096
Newcastle University Security: 0191 2086817