Scammers impersonate the Chinese Consulate

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Have you gotten a call from someone saying they’re from a Chinese Consulate office? If so, you’re not alone – based on reports to the FTC and the real Chinese Consulates. But here’s the thing: it’s not a Chinese Consulate office calling. It’s a scammer. These callers seem to be reaching people with Chinese last names but, as we know, scammers can change tactics quickly.

Here’s what’s happening now: people across the country have reported getting a call or message saying they have to pick up a package at the Chinese Consulate office. Or, they need you to give them information to avoid being in trouble with the Chinese Consulate. Then the caller asks for your bank or credit card information, or tells you to make a bank transfer to them.

Regardless of who you are or who says they’re calling, never send money to anyone who calls and asks you to send it. Never give your Social Security number, your bank or credit card number, or other sensitive information to anyone who calls and asks for it. Same thing if they email or message you through a social media platform such as WeChat: just don’t respond. That’s a scam. And neither the real Chinese Consulates, nor the Chinese Embassy, will ever call you to ask for money.

If you get a call or message like this, hang up or delete it, and then tell the FTC. If you have business with the real Chinese Consulate and you’re worried, contact the real Chinese Consulate by looking up your local office’s number. But, whatever you do, don’t give out your information – or your money – to anyone who contacts you out of the blue.

To read a version of this blog post in Simplified Chinese, click here.

Tagged with: imposter, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Yesterday I finally had enough of these scam calls and I decided to give the caller a piece of my mind. After listening to the robo pitch for lower credit card interest I pressed 1 to speak with a live scammer. After the exchange of a few cuss words I told him I knew this call was a scam and I was going to report it to the authorities. He then threatened to come to my home to beat me and blow me away for not giving out my Social Security number. I should not have done this but I gave him a bunch of cuss words and told him I was not afraid of his B.S. at which time I hung up. Has anyone else ever been threatened by a scammer?

Mike I have worked a few cases where scammers used threats in an attempt to convince the person to send money but I have no experience where they actually carried out a threat. It is generally not a good idea to engage these people in any way. You never know what you may accidentally say under duress and ultimately cursing at them may make them laugh a little it doesn't stop or slow them down.

You best bet is to disengage and report.

Yes I’ve experienced threatening behaviour from a scammer. I too gave him a piece of my mind & hung up. He then must have had me on redial cos over the course of 3 days I received calls repeatedly whenever I replaced the handset & he just sat & breathed heavily or whispered. Never again will I bother - just hang up ASAP. It was very disturbing ....

We appear to have an economy in which the quickest and least costly way to start a profitable business is to use technical skills, so as to appear to be someone who is trustworthy, and more reliable than in VERITAS.

Yes, I received this phone call. It seems it was 3 or 4 months ago. I still have my ex-husband's Chinese last name but lost interest in the language and culture a long time ago. A message was left on my cell, but I just deleted it. Had I known back then I would have reported it. I knew there was no reason for a Chinese consulate in New York to be calling me.

Hello, I have so much info to give you in regards to the Chinese consulate. I have really been scammed a few times. I have saved everything. Letters, forms, pics and identity photos, job description etc. Please let me know where to fill out the form. Thank you, Deb

You can report to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. Thank you.

212-244-9392 March 16, 2018 585-633-3413 3/27 Caller ID was Chinese Embassy in NY (there is no embassy in NY)

I do not have a Chinese last name and I received a recording of a women speaking in Chinese. I had no idea what she was saying and I hung up.

Yes I get that same call Bobby.. the one who calls me has an area code of 214.. I end up blocking it but a week later get another one from a different 214#... it is just so annoying

Hubby received a call from a NYC area code. We do not answer numbers we don't know. He let it go to voicemail. Woman spoke Chinese. We listened to it a few times. He may still have the recording. We are not Chinese.

Since 4/14/18 got calls from 212-264-9376, 212-361-5492, 212-244-9951, 212-242-7110, 212-334-5868, and 212-244-9342 from male or female Asian callers, asked if they speak English they kept talking fast. Now I just have to block them along with all the other scam, phishing calls.

In DC and Virginia area the call is from this number: 202-465-6162.

They are also calling (speaking in Chinese) from 202-214-0444, 202 504-6915, etc. In my opinion the real problem is not so much evil people doing "their business", it is the Federal Trade Commission doing NOTHING really serious to protect the American people.

I received a call (202-495-2266) on 18 May from the "Chinese Embassy". I thought it was amusing and did not answer, and they didn't leave a message. Thanks for the info on this and similar scam calls.

thanks for the warning

After my Chinese roommate unwittingly gave them his SSN this morning, I helped him to establish a 90-day Fraud Alert online through Experian (which should propagate to Equifax & TransUnion) and to freeze his credit reports at Chex, Experian & Equifax. [TransUnion was being difficult, wanting to sell protection yet denying his credentials; we'll have to try them by phone on Monday.] Anything else to do at this point? And is it any coincidence that this spam call came on a Saturday morning, when the credit reporting agencies are all closed for the weekend? How much damage can they do over the next two days, when most businesses are also closed?

Get information about what to do if your Social Security number is exposed at IdentityTheft.gov.

Many friends got this scam call, we all using Fido. Now.. I'm concern about...will Fido leaking information, that's why they only call Chinese Name people.

I’m Italian and I have gotten several of the calls. When will we pass a law making it a felony to spoof caller id?

I was almost fooled by them, saying that I gave a bank card to some stranger and now i'm involved in money laundering with the chinese. I did have a bank card in china as a child but that was many many years ago. I proceeded to ask them of their name, address, and employee number, that person hung up. Unfortunately I ended up giving them my full name and birthdate in the beginning of the call. Being followed by "interpol" was a bit scary and I was totally fooled.

The same story - not sure if the same person but was very convincing too - I was also thinking of the wallet I had just lost 2-3 weeks ago and that maybe it was found on this woman. I was and feel so foolish.

Receiving these calls that the FTC mentioned above 2 or 3 times a week. Always in Chinese. Always a NY area code (212) for example 212-244-6700, 212-244-0031, 212-244-3411, etc.,.. etc.,...
I block them but appears they spoof or control a whole trunk of numbers.

1-415-852-3197 is a scam call leaving a voicemail requesting documents.

I almost lost a big chunk of money by this big group of Chinese scammers who are trained and manipulated. Since I don't read Chinese newspaper nor watch Chinese TV, I did not know there is such a scam around as I know of IRS scam.

It started as an innocent call back. First MISTAKE, I should verify the consulate number and not using the call back function on the phone . I was told they caught a suspect in Peking who was holding server fake passports. She asked my passport number. SECOND MISTAKE. I should have her read to me, not I read to her. Then, she said I need to call Peking Kung An Bureau(minister of public security).She was nice to connect the phone for me since I did not know how and where to contact. The officer answered the call took my info and questioned me some info, he even asked me if I knew how to contact them by walking me through the website to confirm it. He told me he believed I was a victim but he needed to call head office to check. After that call he told me he was surprised to find out that I am currently a suspect of an big international financial fraud event and he needed to forward my phone to his boss. The boss told me that there is an international order which would be sent out in few hours for freezing all my assets for three months and the international police will come to expedite me to Peking for investigation for 49 days. At first, I just laughed and I knew I was innocent and they could check whatever they wanted. But,I worried about my upcoming scheduled travel plan and freezing accounts. He then forwarded my case to the chief prosecutor. Each of them, gave me their full name and titles. The prosecutor was bully and did not even understand a word of English. He even used the techniques of refusing to help you for me to plead with him. Finally and slowly he told me to wire money to show my sincerity and he can expidite the process to be 3 days. Once they received the money he can check and issue a clearance of my innocent, changed my status from suspect to victim and return my money. I asked why don't you check my back statements(good thing he did not ask my accounts numbers), he said the main suspect was highly educated in US and had lots of people worked for him, even in the bank business. So the paper work they received are already compromised. He kept me on the cell phone all the time even when I went to the bank. I had no choice under the time pressure, so I was in the process of wiring money but I did feel uneasy as that point. So, I handed a piece of paper to the banker asked him to cooperate with me by saying the computer is down(it was about the time they are closing). They were on the cell phone with me for about 7 hours and won't let me shut down at all. Thinking it back, there were lots of should, would, could moments. But, they played my motion, time pressure and ignorance. They kept me on the phone in order to prevent me do other things or talked to other people.
I went to police and tried to call FBI afterwards, they won't take my compliant since there was no lost of money.
I just want to warn people like me not to step into this trap. They used all google voice to set up any numbers they wanted. After each exposure, they changed them.
Here are the numbers I had:
415-852-2728
86-1069-440212
86-150-0115-1293
86-158-1142-9558

Please tell your friends just never answer any phone call which you don't know the caller.

I have actually experienced the exact same process as you had been through, but they were accusing me for involving in the money laundering. I was actually stupid enough to wire the money to their bank accounts and lost over $180000 dollars. I have already asked the bank to sent out the recall request to the recipient bank and reported this to the police station. I accidentally let out all my important identification information and now I am actually in a big trouble.

Find out what to do after your personal information has been shared at IdentityTheft.gov. Learn what to do if your Social Security number or account numbers were exposed.

Similar situation happened to me yesterday 5/15/18 around noon. I got a robo-call indicating an important package sent from Chinese Embassy and, after clicking 2, was connected to a man with the legit Embassy number in Washing DC 202-495-2266. He asked if I know a person named “Wong Hai Yian”, a person was caught in Beijing immigration possessing fake passport with my identity and that I need to open a case to have Beijing Police to investigate this case. He then transferred me Beijing police. A person named “Wong Hao” claimed to be an officer of 北京市公安局顺义分局 asked me details to open a case. He walked through online for how to find official address and phone# for 北京市公安局顺义分局 via google and baidu. To ensure future follow-up, his said he will disconnect and redial and that I should only answer if the calling # matches with official phone# listed online, which is 010-6499-0212. Since I am located in US, he said the case report will be a recording and that I need to find a place with no interruption as, any voice heard during recording, the session will be void. I went through the recording session, providing all passport detail and my SS#, to open the case. Around 3pm, he called back to informed me that he has called Chinese Embassy regarding my case report as well as shared my case to other Chinese agencies for investigation. He said he will call me back next day 8am EST to provide more update. Also, advise me not to tell anyone about this investigation case in the next 3 to 7 days as it may impact the investigation. The whole instance seemed a legit international crime case report as no credit card or bank info was involved. I asked him if I call Chinese Embassy, the Embassy should have the case report info. He firmly responded YES. But the next day, I didn’t get the call.
I found out it’s a fraud when I see the SCAM Alert message on the Chinese Embassy’s site.

You can take steps to protect your information after a scammer gets your Social Security number. You could place a credit freeze on your credit report, to stop a scammer from opening new accounts in your name. Or, you could place a fraud alert on your credit report. Read more about what to do after a scammer learns your Social Security number on the FTC's IdentityTheft.gov website.

I got almost the same scam. I made the same mistake, gave them my driver license number and my birthday so they can verify me. I should verify them. When they started mention that I am a suspect of a serious international financial crime. I got shock and decided that I should talk to my lawyer and told them that I'll have my lawyer handle the case. They stopped then I realized that I got scammed.

My roommate and I got these calls today. We live in Washington, DC but have Hawaii phone numbers. The scammer's number was 808-595-1913. Neither of us have Chinese surnames.

I got a call from the irs saying I owe money to them that I’ve gotten from 2015. If I owe money how come they are reaching out to me now? And if I did owe money they usually take it from my refund automatically. I’m confused. I definitely think this is a scam for my money but then again I got a bill in the mail from the irs saying I owe them money and it looks like a legit letter but I’m a little skeptical about it. I called the irs and was told I don’t owe nothing but when I call again to speak to other people they say I do I so confused.

I get at least two of these per day. I hangup. I do not speak Mandarin.
It has been going on for at least a month.

April 25, 2018, I received a telephone call at 10:21 am., from I telephone number I did not recognize. So, like many of you I did not answer. The caller left a message. Of course, I listened. It was a recording in Chinese; I could not understand. When I looked up the number from Caller ID the call appeared to come from the Chinese Consulate in Houston, Texas. I live in Houston and I live a couple blocks from the consulate.

I have gotten numerous calls like this but not in Chinese and not spoofing the Chinese consulate, but they threaten to send “the local cops to take me in custody” if I don’t make arrangements with them right away. It’s usually some tax debt they assert. The way I know it’s a scam is the same way it was obvious the Nigerian millions emails were: their English is “off”, they use phrases no native speaker or real official caller would, but that may be why the Chinese one is so successful at convincing victims, they avoid that problem by speaking in their own language, no mistakes. I have no idea where they are coming from, though once when I responded just so I could tell them off, a man with an Indian accent answered. This is becoming a worldwide problem, there has to be some way to deal with it, and these people have NO respect for Do Not Call registries.

I get phone calls from a 212 number with someone speaking Chinese. I hang up and block the number but the calls continue from different numbers.

Got robo called by this number 858-533-4566 at 11:05 am pst today. This is the second time in two weeks.

Call from 917-692-0414.

I receive a phone call from 212-840-7573 as well as other 212 numbers with a Chinese speaking person. I’ve blocked several of the Chinese Robocalls though once your number has been added to their database the calls will continue.

I’ve received a similar scam call from (240) 315-2265‬ and ‭(202) 495-2266‬. They claim they are from the Chinese Embassy that Shanghai Police Department reported to them that someone from the Shanghai Airport was carrying many cash cards and was blocked by the police. One of the cards had my name on it. The scammers asked me to report this to Shanghai Police Department. When they transferred my call to the “police”, I realized this as a scam and hung up.

With existing technology, why doesn't FTC track these scammers and do something to stop them. After several calls, this is unwanted abuse.

They tried calling my phone. However, I do not speak Chinese so I was unaffected by their scamming attempts. They are using numbers from all over North America (Even B.C. Canada)

Same thing happened to me just now. I press 1 what is the consequences.

I don't know how to stop these calls...does anyone know? I got 6 calls all the same Chinese recording from 6 different #s just in the last half hour...they keep coming in. 202-495-2905 846-843-6799 247-264-0625 522-299-6709 202-495-2935

As soon as the call comes through, answer and hang up immediately. Don't even let a full second pass. This will make it look like you have a non-working number. The calls will start decreasing soon.

I got a scam call from 202-595-1326 today. One female and one male voice, claiming to have a message for me from the Chinese Embassy. According to them apparently someone has stolen one of my bank account and smuggled it to China. All they wanted me to do is to file a police report with the Police in Shanghai. I don't know what they are trying to get from me.

832-213-7888, the guy claims to be from Chinese Consulate in Houston, TX and actually speaks Chinese. He says "hello?" in Chinese and when I replied "hello" in Chinese he's like "oh you are Chinese" and with a heavy accent too. I thought it's really obvious sign when he speaks in Chinese first then pretend he can speak English. I just hung up when he starts asking for my name and personal information.

I am a former customer of Fido, my surname is not chinese and I live in Canada, yet I've received half a dozen of these calls in the past few days. Incredibly annoying. Called my current provider who wasn't able to offer any advice that I hadn't already thought of myself. So tired of these robocalls.

Recieved the call from 212=695-9726. After pressing the number 9, I was connected to the live scammer. She spoke to me in Mandarin Chinese and I responded in kind. I told her you can be serious about this. I told her that she didn't really have anything for me. I asked her who she was and she told me "Angela Baby". I asked her to spell it and she did. I told her she didn't spell it correctly (as a joke) and she hung up on me.

Commenting only to let people know that I received a Chinese consulate robo-call scam from: 716-378-6616. I've only ever heard about the existence of such calls from the FTC which has been fairly good about getting the word out to the Asian community -- I hung up the second the recording began playing. Good job FTC!

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