Scamwatch is warning the Chinese community in Australia to be wary of scammers posing as Chinese authorities and/or employees of DHL and threatening them with deportation and/or arrest unless they pay large sums of money.

The scammer contacts their victim via phone and communicates in Mandarin, claiming to be from either postal delivery company DHL or authorities in China such as the police or a ‘special investigations team’. The scammer says they have intercepted a parcel, with the victim’s name and address on it, containing multiple fake passports. They also may instead claim their victim’s bank account is compromised and has been used for criminal activities.

The scammer will tell the victims they suspect they are involved in a crime, for example money laundering or embezzlement, and to avoid jail or deportation they need to pay a large sum of money for bail or to get a ‘priority investigation’ to clear their name. They will also try to extract personal information from their victims such as their address, passport number and banking details.

The scammer’s objective is to create fear in the victim so they don’t question the story and will pay them money or give them valuable personal information. If money is sent to the scammer, it is likely lost and will be extremely hard to recover.

Protect yourself tips

  • If you get cold called by someone making threats about arrest or deportation in relation to fake passports, it is a scam. Do not send them any money. Instead, hang up the phone immediately and report it to Scamwatch.
  • Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
  • If you think you have provided your bank account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
  • When dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses, whether it's over the phone, by mail, fax, email, in person or on a social networking site, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam.
  • You can contact IDCARE (a national identity and cyber support service) for support if you have concerns about your identity being compromised. Online form or phone: 1300 432 273.
  • The Scamwatch website has information about scams in Chinese languages.

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Threats to life, arrest or other involve demands by scammers to pay money that you supposedly owe and threats if you do not cooperate.