Kitchener-Waterloo

Chinese consulate imposter scams university student out of 'substantial amount of money'

A university student in Waterloo lost money to a phone scam, which claimed to be from the Chinese consulate in Toronto telling him he was found to be involved in a fraud case by Beijing Police.

Consulate says they will never ask for banking information over the phone

Scam artists impersonating the Chinese Consulate in Toronto have been calling people and demanding them transfer money to bank accounts. (CBC)

Waterloo Regional Police Service is warning students to be careful of phone calls that claim to be from the Chinese embassy — after a university student lost "a substantial amount of money."

The caller transferred the student to speak with someone who claimed to be a police officer from Beijing, China, who told the student he was identified as being involved in a fraud investigation.

The student either had to "return to China or wire money to certain bank accounts in Hong Kong," police said in a statement.

After he obliged with the request, the student was contacted again and told the wrongdoing was cleared, but to receive the money he sent initially, he would have to pay a bail fee.

Scam ongoing since August

The Chinese consulate in Toronto said in a statement written in Chinese that this type of phone scam, where callers identify themselves as being from the embassy, has been going around since last August.

It warns people that the embassy will never leave voice mails saying they have been contacted by the Interpol, or require the person to call a certain number to contact the embassy.

"Under no circumstances would the Chinese consulate notify an individual about important documents, parcels or specific case documents via the phone or a voicemail. We would also never ask for personal banking information over the phone," said the statement.

Further, if you receive calls claiming there has been a car accident, a child being kidnapped or a family member dying, the embassy says you should "remain calm and use other channels to confirm the information is true."

"Even if the embassy uses the telephone to contact you about those types of circumstances in an emergency, we will never make mention of bank accounts or money transfers," the consulate said.

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