HOW IT WORKS
You get a call from someone claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate or a pre-recorded message in Chinese. The call says there is a package for you or that you could be in trouble with their office. Once they have your attention, they say you must pay them to receive the package or that a payment can clear up the trouble. Then they ask for your bank account or credit card number. They may even ask you to make a bank transfer to them.
To make the scam look more legitimate, the bad guys may also spoof the Consulate’s phone number.
This example uses the Chinese Consulate and typically targets people of Chinese ancestry. Bad guys can easily try to scare others by naming an organization or agency which would more likely connect with the person they’re calling.
Their goal is always the same: to get your money.
What To Do
- Ignore incoming calls and texts from numbers you do not recognize. If you do answer, and it sounds like a scam, hang up immediately. Don’t try to outsmart the bad guy by giving out wrong information. Just hang up.
- Don't share personal information, like passwords, credit card numbers, or bank account information over the phone. And do not send money to someone you do not really know.
- If you want to know if the call was legitimate, call the agency the caller claims to represent using a phone number found from a trusted source, such as their secure website. (Do not use a number or website provided by the possible scammer.)
- Regularly check your accounts and report any suspicious or fraudulent activity immediately.
Remember, agencies and organizations, like the Chinese Consulate, will not call you to ask for money over the phone. If someone does this, it is likely a scam.
Also, there are tools that can help. For example, with the free and easy-to-use AT&T ActiveArmor℠ mobile security app you can flag, block or send spam and all other nuisance calls to voicemail, and more.