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Phone Scam targeting Chinese Nationals in Australia by pretending to be from the Embassy RAKES IN MILLIONS $$$

IN RECENT months, you may have been confused by a voicemail left on your phone in Mandarin.

Whether you understand it or not, authorities have warned smartphone users to hang up immediately.

Police have warned of a phone scam targeting Chinese nationals in Australia by pretending to be from the embassy and demanding a large sum of money.

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“We have offenders contacting victims on the phone purporting to be from the Chinese Embassy, and saying victims either committed an offence or had their identity stolen. As a result, victims are asked to pay fines or a debt,” Financial Crimes Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett told a conference Wednesday afternoon.

“I want to stress that the Chinese Embassy would never contact a person to pay money over the phone.

“We’ve had incidents where the victim is threatened, or their family back in China is threatened.”

She said there have been cases where the victim didn’t have any money. In these cases, the victim was instructed to stage a kidnapping so they could get money overseas from their parents.

The scam has reaped in millions of dollars, targeting victims across Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. One victim alone in NSW had $1.9 million stolen.

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According to Det Supt Howlett, there have been at least 50 reports of this scam across NSW, with three calls this week alone.

But she said a lot of the victims still aren’t coming forward, urging people receiving the calls to hang up and notify the authorities.

Variations of this scam have been reported recently. In another one, an automated voice in Mandarin claiming to be calling on behalf of the Chinese Embassy tells the listener they had an important parcel to collect.

They are encouraged to press 9, at which point they are transferred to a scammer who tries to take their personal details.

China’s Deputy Consul-General in Sydney Tong Xuejun said more than 1000 cases had been reported since August last year.

“We have confirmed about 40 cases that caused a loss. The total amount of money involved is about $10 million,” he said, adding that the money lost ranged from $2000 to one case of $3.5 million.

In another fraud, the scammer tells the victim they are involved in a crime like money-laundering or embezzlement, and threatens them with jail or deportation unless they pay a hefty sum to get a “priority investigation” to clear their name.

They also try to extract sensitive information like passport numbers, bank details and addresses.

According to Scamwatch, if the money is sent to the scammer, it is likely lost and extremely difficult to recover.

Many non-Chinese people have reported getting the calls too, and being left confused.

The Chinese Consulate-General has urged Chinese citizens in Australia to be aware of fraudulent calls.

www.crimefiles.net

www.intelagencies.com

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Henry Sapiecha

COMMONWEALTH BANK SLANT ON SMS & EMAIL SCAMS AUSTRALIA

Hoax alert

From time to time, we send emails and text messages (SMS) to our customers to update them with important information. Sometimes, fraudsters may send you “hoax” messages that appear to come from us, in order to trick you into revealing sensitive information. That’s why it’s important to remember that we will never send you a message asking you to confirm, update or disclose your personal or banking information. To help keep your account and personal information safe, here are some examples of hoax email/SMS, and what you should do if you receive one.

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How to spot a scam

SMiShing

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Pronounced ‘smishing’, they are SMS messages that attempt to direct you (via a link) to a fraudulent website and request you to input your personal information. These messages typically include an urgent call to action – such as to re-verify or unfreeze an account that is ‘suspended’ or set to ‘expire’ or to claim a tax refund. SMiShing campaigns targeted at our customers would typically link to a site that asks for your client number, NetBank password, card number or PIN. The hoax SMS may try to pass itself off as a legitimate message from the bank by including our contact number, and may also spoof (fake) our sender label/ID so that the ‘from’ field reads ‘CommBank’ or ‘NetBank’.

Tips to avoid SMS scams:

  • Commonwealth Bank will never send an SMS that asks you to confirm, update or disclose personal or banking information, and most financial institutions follow the same practice. Never click on a link provided in such an SMS.
  • Instructions on how to send these messages to Commonwealth Bank for further investigation is listed below.

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Phishing

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Pronounced ‘fishing’, emails are used by fraudsters to trick people into entering their personal information, such as bank account details, on a website controlled or monitored by the attacker. The fraudster can then use this information for illegal purposes, such as transferring funds or purchasing goods. Phishing emails are often designed to imitate your most trusted service providers – a bank, cloud service provider or other financial institution, and may include links to a convincing replica home page.

Tips to avoid email scams:

  • We will never send messages via email that ask you to confirm, update or disclose personal or banking information, and most financial institutions follow the same practice.
  • Hard as they might try, these emails don’t always get the branding and design of your service provider quite right. If you’re in any way unsure about a message that purports to be from an organisation you transact with, compare it to previous correspondence from the same organisation.
  • If you’re still unsure, contact the organisation directly using a phone number from their website (not from the email) before you reply.
  • Never open an attachment that you’re unsure about as it may contain malicious software designed to infect your computer.
  • You can typically check that links in emails are legitimate by ‘hovering’ your mouse over the link to view the destination URL (web address), without risking having to click it. On your smartphone, you need to tap and hold on the link and wait for the URL to appear.
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