Beware of Fake Chinese Police Scams Worldwide

Beware of Fake Chinese Police Scams Worldwide

Image Credit: BBC

Scammed by Fake Chinese Police

Chinese people worldwide are being targeted by a scam where criminals pretend to be Chinese police. A British-Chinese woman, Helen Young, shared her story with the BBC. She lost her life savings to con men who wore police uniforms in video calls and even gave her a virtual tour of what looked like a police station.

Helen, an accountant in London, was made to believe she was on China’s most wanted list. Scammers convinced her she was under investigation for a huge fraud in China. They showed her fake evidence and threatened extradition. In fear, Helen sent them her £29,000 life savings as “bail money.”

Helen feels foolish now but says the scam was very convincing. This type of scam has targeted many in the Chinese community. Chinese embassies and the FBI have warned about these scams. In one case, an elderly woman in Los Angeles handed over $3 million, thinking it would stop her extradition.

The scam often starts with a simple phone call. In Helen’s case, it was a person claiming to be a Chinese customs officer about an illegal parcel in her name. She was transferred to “Officer Fang,” who appeared in a video call wearing a police uniform. He showed her a tour of a police station, convincing her it was real.

Officer Fang later accused Helen of involvement in a financial fraud and showed her fake bank statements. He made her sign a confidentiality agreement, warning that breaking it would lead to more trouble. The scammers even made her download an app to monitor her actions.

Helen tried to continue her normal life while working on a personal statement as instructed. She was shown a video of a supposed suspect naming her as an accomplice, which made her believe she was in serious trouble. When Officer Fang threatened extradition, Helen was told to transfer her savings as bail.

After sending £29,000, Helen was asked for another £250,000. Desperate, she tried borrowing from a friend who alerted her daughter. Helen then realized it was a scam. Her bank eventually refunded her money, but the experience was traumatic. She crashed her car twice due to stress and sleep deprivation.

Some victims of these scams have been pushed to fake their own kidnappings to get ransom money from their families. Detective Superintendent Joe Doueihi from New South Wales Police has warned about these “virtual kidnappings.” Victims are coerced into making videos to appear as if they’ve been kidnapped, which are then used to demand ransom.

Scammers also trick victims into believing they are working for the Chinese government, using them to intimidate other Chinese students. These scams are often run by Chinese organized crime groups in places like Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. Chinese state media reports that many suspects have been returned to China.

Awareness of these scams is growing. A student in Japan, who realized he was being scammed, recorded his conversation with the scammers. He refused to hand over money and warned others to be cautious of calls from unknown numbers.


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