3 June 2022

Dear Students,

The UNSW community is on high alert for scams that are targeting international students.

Chinese Authority Scams are specifically targeting the Chinese community, including students studying in Australia. These scams involve fraud, extortion and threats of arrest, with scammers pretending to be from the Chinese authority.

How Chinese Authority scams work

A scammer speaking Mandarin will call directly or leave an ‘urgent’ voice message to call back. The scammer may pretend to be from a Chinese authority such as the police, a government or immigration official, or a parcel delivery service.

They may claim and threaten students that:

  • The Australian Government will arrest or deport you due to a problem with your visa
  • Your identity has been stolen or hacked and used for illegal activity
  • They have intercepted a package addressed to you with illegal materials such as fake passports or credit cards
  • You will be extradited back to China to face criminal charges unless money is sent to them to prove your innocence.

You can read more about Chinese Authority scams here. This content is also available in simplified Chinese (简体中文) 

Virtual kidnappings

In a variation of this scam, the imposter will accuse their victims of criminal activity. They will threaten the victim and their family with criminal sanctions unless they pretend they have been kidnapped, including by taking photos of themselves. Scammers will use this photos to extort money from the victim’s family. You can read more about virtual kidnappings here.

How to protect yourself

  • If you ever receive a call from someone making threats about arrest or deportation, it is a scam
  • Hang up the phone immediately and call local police on 000, or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000
  • If you think the scammer has your bank account details, contact your bank immediately
  • Warn your friends and family about this scam. Members of our Chinese community in Australia can also report the scam
  • Email our caring and professional Student Advisers in the Student Support Team for help.

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