The Australian Federal Police have issued a warning about a petrifying scam that has already conned the families of international university students out of $2 million.
Scammers claiming to be from the Chinese embassy are contacting students and threatening them with deportation over crimes they haven't committed, with threats to hurt their families if they don’t co-operate with them, leaving the victims pressured into handing over personal information about themselves. With this information, the scammers then contact the student's families overseas and convince them their child has been kidnapped and will only be released if they hand over obscene amounts of money. According to senior lecturer Dr Chang at Monash University, this type of scam has been around for decades. “Starting in Taiwan, the scammers have moved overseas to places like Australia and targeting international students.”
The Australian Federal Police are urging victims to come forward and report the crimes to the police. In a statement, the AFP said “victims can feel an array of emotions, from helplessness and humiliation to anger and guilt, but it’s important to know you are not to blame and there is help at hand”.