Mandarin phone scam

<  Back to Fact Sheets
Have you received a call from someone speaking in Mandarin?
  • Did the caller claim to be a Chinese Government Official?
  • Did they claim you have sent a parcel containing illegal goods?
  • Are they asking you to stay connected with them on Whatsapp?
Did the caller claim to be a Chinese Government Official?

The caller might claim you have committed identity fraud or registered a phone to scam other people. In many cases the call might appear to be originating from a Police Station somewhere in China.

Did they claim you have sent a parcel containing illegal goods?

The caller might claim they work for a shipping company like DHL. They might inform you that a package you sent has been intercepted and found to have illegal substances inside. The call may begin with an automated message stating a shipment has been delayed. Often, they will forward you on to another scammer who will claim to be a member of the Chinese police force.

Are they asking you to stay connected with them on Whatsapp?

They might request you download apps like Telegram, WeChat, LetsTalk, Ding Talk, or Whatsapp and update them as to your whereabouts throughout the day. Some may even request you contact them every 2 hours.

If you have received any of these communications recently– you have been targeted by a scam.

Common Deception Techniques
  • These scams are all about getting people to act and respond without thinking. Scammers use fear techniques to do this, such as the threat of arrest, deportation and escalation with the Chinese authorities. They may also absolve you of any wrongdoing but insist your identity has been used to commit a crime – which you should feel responsible for. When people are threatened or scared, the job of a scammer becomes a lot easier – that’s why they do it
  • The callers may ask to record the conversation for legal purposes – and request that you continue the discussion in a quiet place with no one else present. These scams use social isolation techniques to ensure compliance. They may claim that you will face legal consequences if you discuss the case with anyone else, including your family members.  Sometimes the scammers will ask you to send photos of yourself  to verify your identity. Many cryptocurrency trading platforms require a ‘selfie’ of the person applying holding their photo ID. This request should raise alarm bells – never send a photo like this to anyone for any purpose or reason.
  • The callers might dress up like a police officer and request  video chat with you. Sometimes they might even send photos of their police badges to prove how serious the situation is. They may use their ‘authority’ to question you as to the details of your family living abroad. This information may be used against you to keep you compliant with their demands.


The caller will initiate contact via phone and use many social engineering tactics to appear authentic. In some cases you may receive a robo-call that prompts you to press 1 to speak to an operator – or even an SMS with details of the package that you have been accused of sending. They may tell you to lookup the number for a regional Chinese police station and will then call you from this number.


Be vigilant when receiving unsolicited calls where the caller claims to belong to a Government agency or police station. While the number may appear to be legitimate – hang up and make your own independent enquiries. Caller ID spoofing means anyone can appear to be calling from anywhere at anytime. Your own number can even be used to call you.


These callers may often request that you provide a photo of yourself holding your driver licence or passport to verify your identity. You may also be asked to disclose email addresses, phone numbers, residential address or tax details.

If this has happened to you:

  1. Immediately speak to your financial institution. Explain that your identity has been compromised and ask what provisions and security measures they can place on your account.
  2. Go to IDCARE’s Learning Centre and research how to get free copies of your credit reports and how to place credit bans. In Australia and New Zealand there are three Credit Reporting Agencies, and each may have a different report about you.
  3. If you provided access to your device, such as via AnyDesk or Team Viewer, disconnect the device from the Internet, change your email and online account passwords using another device via a web browser, and have the device looked at by an IT professional.
  4. If your exposure included your tax details, contact the Australian Taxation Office (1800 467 033) or Inland Revenue (0800 257 777)
  5. If you have had your Australian Passport exposed, you can cancel your passport and pay for a new passport with a new passport number. If you have had a Chinese passport, licence or national ID card compromised you may discover whether anyone has misused your ID in China in relation to credit applications by obtaining a copy of your credit report with the Credit Reference Center at the People's Bank of China

For additional support or information, contact IDCARE by submitting a Get Help Form or call 1800 595 160 (Aus) or 0800 121 068 (NZ).


Identity Care Australia & New Zealand Ltd (IDCARE) provides identity and cyber security incident response services (the Services) in accordance with the following disclaimer of service:

  • IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber incident community support service. IDCARE is a not-for-profit and registered Australian charity.
  • The Services provided do not constitute legal advice. IDCARE recommends that you consult your own legal counsel in relation to your legal rights and obligations, including but not limited to your legal rights or obligations under Australian and international privacy and data protection laws.
  • While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the content provided, to the maximum extent permitted by law all conditions, terms, representations, and warranties (in each case, whether express or implied) in connection with the provision of the Services which might otherwise be binding upon IDCARE are excluded.
  • IDCARE’S liability for any loss or damage suffered by any person or organisation (including, without limitation, any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage) arising out of or in connection with the Services (including without limited liability for any negligent act or omission, or statement, representation or misrepresentation of any officers, employees, agents, contractors or consultants of IDCARE) shall be limited to the fees paid by you to IDCARE in respect of the Services. For the avoidance of doubt, this limitation of liability extends to any liability arising from any actions performed or not performed as a result of any recommendations made in the course of providing the Services.
  • If you would like to provide feedback please use our Feedback Form.


IDCARE is here to provide you with specialist support and guidance when faced with a cyber and identity related issue. Contact one of our Identity & Cyber Security Case Managers to learn more about our Support Services and how we can help you.   

Get help

Submit a web request

Call Centre Icon


1800 595 160

Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm AEST

QLD: 07 3555 5900
ACT & NSW: 02 8999 3356
VIC: 03 7018 2366
NT, SA & WA08 7078 7741

Call Centre Icon

call our NEW ZEALAND

0800 121 068

Mon - Fri: 10am - 7pm NZST

AKL: 09 884 4440