Kidnapping Scam update - 22nd September 2020
You may be aware of media reports on a scam targeting international students, which was reported in the media yesterday (with previous incidents reported in 2019 and 2020). For example:
Chinese student based in Sydney falls victim to 'virtual kidnapping' scam
Chinese international student located following 'virtual kidnapping'
See Virtual Kidnappings for a July 2020 Media release from New South Wales police, which provides information on how the scam is operating.
Students have been contacted through a phone call from someone usually speaking in Mandarin and claiming to be a representative from a Chinese authority.
The caller convinces the victim that they have been implicated in a crime in China, and that they must pay a fee to avoid legal action.
The victim is then threatened or coerced into transferring large amounts of money into unknown offshore bank accounts.
In some instances, victims are convinced to fake their own kidnappings – known as a ‘virtual kidnapping’.
When the victim’s family is unable to establish contact with their child in Australia, they send large ransom payments in exchange for their ‘release’.
Police have asked students who feel they may have been targeted to contact the Chinese Consulate or Embassy, and report the incident to police.