What makes this a phishing message?
The caller claims to represent the Chinese embassy or consulate. They insist that your identity has been stolen and offer the Chinese government’s assistance in the matter. Other variations of this scam include a warning that a warrant has been issued for your arrest because of a failure to pay international fines or taxes or a package that has been sent to the consulate for you to pick up.
In a variation of this scam, the imposter will accuse their victims, usually students, of criminal activity.
- Victims are contacted by individuals claiming to be from Chinese credit card companies saying they have overdue balances.
Victims are contacted by individuals claiming to be employees of a mobile company in the China and there have illegal activities under your name and they are going to contact the police.
These targeted scams use urgency and fear to cause the recipients to act, exposing their personal information or send money. Some are very sophisticated, spoofing phone numbers and employing many different voices and actors.
Tips if Something Seems Off:
The official Chinese Consulate in the US has confirmed they will not contact individuals by phone.
Follow up with the sender separately by contacting them on their official website or phone number.
If you didn’t expect it, reject it. Or follow-up with the individual directly in a separate email or call/text to confirm.
Report and/or flag it
If you receive a call or message like this:
- Hang up. Block unknown callers or use call blockers
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/
- File a complaint regardless of dollar loss with the IC3 at www.ic3.gov
- Alert your family and friends about the hoax.
The message starts in Mandarin and may say:
"Hello, this is the Chinese consulate general in the United States.
You have an important document that has not been received.
If you have any questions, please dial zero. Transfer to China specialist."