Phone scam targets Chinese-American community in New York, millions stolen

NEW YORK — Scammers targeting Chinese-Americans living in New York have stolen millions.

Hundreds have received phone calls  that fraudulently appear on caller ID as coming from the “Chinese Consulate,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.  The scammers demand money or information, telling the victims they’ll  suffer negative consequences if they don’t pay up.”

“It’s unconscionable that someone would prey on New Yorkers — including vulnerable recent immigrants — to try to turn a profit,” Schneiderman said. “As these scammers continue to target people across the state, I’m urging all New Yorkers to be on high alert and immediately contact the FTC if they receive such a call.”

The scammers appear to be calling from outside of the U.S. and targeting people with Chinese last names, including recent immigrants, according to the Federal Trade Commission. NYPD data shows 21 Chinese immigrants have lost $2.5 million since December 2017.

New Yorkers who receive the calls should immediately contact the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Attorney General Schneiderman offers the following tips to avoid falling victim to these types of scams:

  • Never give out personal information to a stranger on the phone.
  • Never wire money through Western Union, MoneyGram, or any other wire service to a stranger.
  • Never purchase gift or money cards for the purpose of providing the gift card numbers to someone else.
  • Immediately contact authorities to report potential scams.