The FBI warns of criminal actors posing as Chinese law enforcement officials or prosecutors in financial fraud schemes targeting the US-based Chinese community. Criminals tell victims they are suspects in financial crimes and threaten them with arrest or violence if they do not pay the criminals. Criminals exploit widely publicized efforts by the People’s Republic of China government to harass and facilitate repatriation of individuals living in the United States to build plausibility for their fraud. Criminals typically call victims, sometimes using spoofed numbers to appear as if the call is from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, one of its localized Public Security Bureaus, or a US-based Chinese Consulate. Criminals may also communicate through online applications.
Criminals may show victims fraudulent documents as proof of these accusations, including realistic-looking arrest warrants or intricate details about alleged criminal schemes. Criminals may also display basic knowledge of the victim to appear more legitimate.
Tips to Protect Yourself:
- If an unknown individual contacts you to accuse you of a crime, do not release any personal identifying information and do not send any money.
- Contact from an apparently official phone number is not proof of official action. Criminals may use technology to disguise the actual number they are calling from (“spoof”) and make it appear as a trusted number.
- If you believe you have been contacted by individuals claiming to be a Chinese authority, contact your local FBI field office. Foreign government officials conducting legitimate law enforcement activity in the United States must act in coordination with US federal authorities.
The FBI requests victims report these types of fraudulent or suspicious activities to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.