Police warn of kidnapping scam targetting Chinese students in New Zealand
Scammers claim they’re from the Chinese consulate to get information about students’ families, who they then contact saying their relatives in New Zealand have been kidnapped
New Zealand police are warning Chinese international students to be aware after receiving multiple complaints about a recent fake kidnapping scam.
The scam targets international students and their families back home in China, Detective Senior Sergeant Bridget Doell says.
Scammers have first made contact with Chinese community members in New Zealand by calling them with an automated message claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate.
Some of those receiving the calls have followed instructions in the message before speaking with a person, who convinced them to provide their personal details as well as information about their family in China.
The scammers next call family members in China to demand money, saying their relative in New Zealand has been kidnapped.
“Government agencies will never ask for your personal information on the
phone, and you should never give out private details to people you do not know
and trust,” Sen Sgt Doell said.
“Our message to the public is simple – do not engage with anyone on the
phone if you think you are being scammed.”
She said New Zealand police had received several complaints about the scam in the past week and were aware of the scam taking place in other countries also.
“We are working with our international partners to see if there are common
elements to the offences,” she said.
“If anyone in New Zealand is found to be participating in scams such as
this, you will risk being charged and prosecuted.”
Those who are suspicious of a possible scam should contact police immediately, she said.