Police in Victoria are again warning members of the Chinese community about a “virtual kidnapping” scheme.
This is the second time the VicPD has issued a release to the media about these types of elaborate extortion schemes. In the latest incident, a woman received an automatic telephone call in “unaccented” Mandarin, allegedly from the Chinese embassy.
After a series of prompts about a package waiting at the embassy, the woman was connected to a man who claimed to be an investigator with a specific Chinese authority, who told the woman she had been implicated in a serious crime.
Over the course of several hours she was prompted for personal and financial information under the guise of an ongoing investigation, according to Victoria police, who say the fraudsters went far enough to instruct the woman to Google the authority’s number in order to confirm where he was calling from. Investigators believe the caller had “spoofed”’ the number.
Police say the woman spoke with a friend about the incident and during that conversation became suspicious. The pair then called police and spoke with investigators. Victoria Police say the victim in this case did not lose any money, but her personal information has been compromised.
What can you do?
- If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate, the Chinese Police, or asked to particulate in a similar situation, you are asked to call the Victoria Police at 250-995-7654 or your local police.
- Speak with students and visitors in your community from mainland China about these extortions and encourage them to contact police if they feel unsafe or are contacted by people claiming to be the Chinese authorities who are asking them to pretend to be the victim of a crime.
Tips for Chinese students and expats
- The Chinese Police or government cannot arrest you in Canada.
- All policing related contact from the Chinese government will be through local police.
- Canadian or Chinese authorities will not ask you to destroy a phone or to take photos or videos of yourself pretending to be the victim of a crime.
- If you are contacted by someone claiming to be the Chinese police and they ask you to be of assist and investigation by pretending to be the victim of a crime, call (250) 995-7654 for assistance (even if they tell you not to).
- The Victoria Police Department is here to help you. If you feel unsafe or threatened, please call us either by dialing 911 or (250) 995-7654.