According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a phone scam targeting individuals with Chinese last names is spreading across the US. Mandarin or English speaking scammers are calling victims and claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate. Victims are informed that they have a package or sensitive information at their local consulate office. The victim is to told that they must retrieve the package or information and are asked to share their credit card number, banking information or social security number to avoid any issues with the consulate.
The scam first made an appearance at the end of 2017 but since the beginning of this year it’s grown 1767%.
This scam is clearly working. According to the New York Police Department, victims in New York City lost over $2.5 million.
Instances of this scam have also been occurring in Canada.
Here are the top 10 area codes where the Chinese Embassy scam is originating:
212 – New York
415 – San Francisco
213 – Los Angeles
202 – Washington D.C.
626 – Pasadena
416 – Toronto
713 – Houston
646 – New York City
604 – British Columbia
917 – New York City
Here’s how you can avoid becoming their next victim:
- The Chinese Consulates and Chinese Embassy will never call you to ask for money or payment over the phone.
- Never share your Social Security number, bank or credit card number, or other sensitive information over the phone, email or social media.
- If you receive an unexpected call requesting you send money or payments, hang-up immediately.
- If you have been a victim or have received this type of call, report it to the FTC immediately.