LIFE

Scammers Target US Families With New Robocalls That Feature Threatening Chinese Warning

by Kim Wong-Shing

Consumers, beware: A convincing, oft-threatening new phone scam is targeting families across the US — immigrants in particular — with Chinese-language robocalls.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the robocalls play a recorded message in Mandarin that claims to be from the Chinese consulate. Sometimes the caller says the recipient is in trouble with Chinese officials; other times, recipients are told that they need to pick up a package at the Chinese consulate. The recipients are then told to provide their bank or credit card information or make a bank transfer to the caller.

The robocalls can be quite intimidating to those who understand Mandarin, making a pretty successful operation. NPR reports that in New York City alone, 30 residents have lost an estimated $3 million to the scam.

New York Police Department Officer Donald McCaffrey told the media organization that he’s been receiving the robocalls on a daily basis: “I get them also, in the NYPD building,” he said. “I have an NYPD department cell phone and I get them on the cell phones, also. It is out of control.”

Whether you speak Mandarin or not, this scary scam might cross your path at some point, especially if you live in an area with a large Chinese population. If that’s ever the case, be sure to keep these important safety tips in mind to protect both your sanity and your bank account…

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