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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If your exposure included your tax details, contact the Australian Taxation Office (1800 467 033) or Inland Revenue (0800 257 777)
- 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
- At present, Australian licence issuers cannot replace your driver licence and provide a new number. Unfortunately, this persists as an enduring risk to the Australian community. New Zealand driver licence issuers may be able to do this for New Zealand driver licence holders upon request.
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