$CAM ALERT $ATURDAY - Chinese Official Imposter Scam

Published: 07/18/2020

$CAM ALERT $ATURDAY - Chinese Official Imposter Scam
It's "$cam Alert $aturday,” so this morning we'll talk about the “Chinese Official” Imposter Scam.
This particular scam has been going on for years and has been seen all over the country and slight differences and variations from case to case.  The Riverside Police Department has received 4 of these cases in the past 8 months.  UC Riverside Police also had 2 cases reported to them.  The victims have been UC Riverside students in each case, so it appears they are being specifically targeted.  Here are the basic elements of the scam:
▪️ A person claiming to be an “official” with the Chinese government, or with the Chinese embassy in the U.S. calls the victim.  In almost all cases, the “official” speaks Mandarin Chinese, the victim’s primary language.  In a few of them, the “official” claims to be a bank employee who then transfers the victim to a Chinese “official.”       

▪️ The “official” tells the victim they are being investigated for money laundering or some other financial crime in China.  This “official” will also tell the victim they must pay “bail” money so they can remain free in the U.S.

▪️ The amount demanded by the “official” can range anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000 in cash, and in several instances, the suspects have demanded 1 million Yen bail, which is about $10,000 cash. The victims have sent money in all six recently documented cases.

▪️ The “official” tells the victim they must wire transfer funds to China or to a specific bank account to avoid arrest and/or deportation.  They order the victim to not tell anyone about the case since it’s an ongoing investigation, and state that Chinese police or American police are standing by to immediately arrest the victim if the money is not sent right away.

▪️ The “official” demands the money be wire transferred, or in some cases, sent by Bitcoin.  The funds are often sent to different Chinese institutions and are irretrievable once the victim discovers the fraud.
Here are some important FACTS regarding the Chinese Official Imposter Scam:
▪️ Foreign officials and/or foreign law enforcement CANNOT arrest you in the United States without permission, coordination, and/or collaboration from U.S. authorities.  We have confirmed this with the F.B.I., Secret Service, and the State Department.

▪️ U.S. authorities (police, sheriffs, IRS, Social Security) WILL NEVER tell you to wire transfer funds to them regarding a criminal case.  They WILL NEVER tell you to send funds via Bitcoin.  They WILL NEVER tell you to purchase pre-paid credit cards and then send them the credit card numbers. 
We ask any potential victims of this scam to contact their local police immediately to report the scam.  For more information about the most common types of scams, visit the FBI’s website at https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes.