Kingston Police alert public to frauds targeting Chinese nationals locally

Kingston Police Headquarters. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell/Kingstonist.

Kingston Police have issued a media release alerting the public to frauds that are targeting Chinese nationals living in Canada. In Kingston, most of the intended targets of this fraud are Chinese visa students, police reported.

“The common theme of these scams involves the culprits pretending to be a police authority in China. They contact the target in Canada and claim that their accounts in China have been linked to fraudulent activities. The targets are threatened with being charged and extradited to China. A pretext is then given for the target to send significant amounts of money to China as a way of avoiding charges,” Kingston Police explained.

“In recent iterations of this scam, victims in Canada received calls on their cell phones, with the call display indicating the name of their phone’s service provider (such as Fido). In these cases, the caller spoke Mandarin and claimed that there was another phone number in their name connected to fraudulent activity. The victims were told to speak with police in Hunan province, China.”

According to the release, in one instance, the victim looked up the number for the police in Hunan using a Chinese search engine. In another case, the victim was transferred by the caller to what was purported to be Chinese police.

Police said that in both cases, the victims ended up talking with someone claiming to be a police officer.

“This person then claimed to have run checks on their names and claimed that they were associated through different ways to Tian Huiyu – a Chinese banker recently accused of fraud and corruption. The ‘police’ claim that they will charge the victim and have them extradited from Canada back to China. They then offer a way out,” Kingston Police said.

“In one case, the victim was told that fees had to be paid upfront for police to investigate and clear them of the allegations. In another case, the victim was told that he could pay his ‘bail’ upfront and avoid being extradited.”

According to the release, victims are told to send wire transfers to banks in China or Hong Kong; or to send funds through Bitcoin. In other instances, they are provided with e-mails to send e-transfers to – but those transfers simply go to other victims, who in turn are told to forward the funds through cryptocurrency.

Kingston Police are advising the public – and the Chinese community in particular – that no legitimate police agency would ask anyone to send funds overseas; nor would any legitimate government agency ask for funds to be paid through cryptocurrency or gift cards.

Anyone who has been a victim of this scam is asked to contact Kingston Police at 613-549-4660. Tips can be made anonymously by calling the Kingston Police general number (613-549-4660 ext. 0) and requesting to remain anonymous.

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