QLD students targeted in $1.5m scam


STUDENTS on the Gold Coast have been targeted as part of an elaborate scam which has left victims more than $1.5 million out of pocket.

Queensland Police have released information in Mandarin to warn students after at least 44 Chinese nationals across the state handed over between $100 to $128,000 each.

Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence said victims had received unsolicited phone calls and online chat messages allegedly from the Chinese Consulate.

"This is a scam; our advice to anyone receiving such calls is to hang up and to report it to police," he said.

"These forms of social engineering attacks, seen here, across Australia and the world, see criminals pretend to be from a legitimate organisation or government authority to get access to money or personal information."

Police released a video featuring Financial and Cyber Crime Group Detective Senior Constable Shawn Chia, in which he explains the scam in Mandarin.

The victims, all Chinese international students, received online chat messages and unsolicited phone calls.
The victims, all Chinese international students, received online chat messages and unsolicited phone calls.

In the video, he explains scammers advise they have received information from the Chinese police alleging the targeted student is connected to a criminal case in China

The scammer then demands funds from the victim, to prevent the victim being deported from Australia and to avoid imprisonment in China.

"Being aware of current scams and techniques and sharing this information with friends and family is one of the best ways to stay ahead of the scammers," he said.

"If you have been a victim of any fraud or scam; we encourage you to come forward. Please don't be afraid, embarrassed or ashamed to report these matters.

"With your assistance police can formulate strategies to assist in combating this crime."

Police reminded the public to take care with their privacy on social media because criminal groups often use social media channels to gather information on potential victims.

Queensland Police was asked exactly how many Chinese international students on the Gold Coast had fallen prey to the scam.

In a statement, police would only say there was "victims across all parts of Queensland including the Gold Coast".