Chinese Students Fake Their Own Kidnapping, Families Sent $2.3 Million To Criminals

Hanima Anand |Jul 29, 2020

As if the world is not crazy enough, these Chinese students in Australia are involved in virtual kidnapping, making their parents send a total of $2.3 million to the scammers.

Eight Chinese students who are considered among vulnerable overseas communities in Australia are being involved in a sophisticated scam named virtual kidnapping that deprived their relatives in China of $2.3 million in total for ransom. These students were, in fact, totally safe at their own room or hotel.

Chinese Students Overseas
Millions of Chinese students are studying overseas in Australia and other countries.

Another similar case costs $1.4 million just happened recently. A 22-year-old Chinese student living in Sydney was seen bound in an unknown location in a video sent to her father. The father was asked to send $1.4m for ransom without noticing the police. He did it, only to realize her daughter was the one to fake her own virtual kidnapping.

What is more serious is that students themselves are traumatized by what has occurred and totally believed they or their family are in real danger as what scammers said to them.

How virtual kidnapping scam works

It’s called virtual kidnapping because everything takes place online, without any face-to-face conversation. Here’s how it works.

Firstly, scammers make calls to a number and speak in Mandarin, the language of Chinese people. If the other side hang up as they do not understand, they can filter this is Australian’s phone number. Otherwise, Chinese students would reply in Mandarin and they know this is their next victim.

Virtual Kidnapping
Scammers can make everything done via phone or social media.

Secondly, scammers say they are Chinese embassy, police or any authority who sounds powerful enough for these students to be afraid of. They even fake their host number and phone location to make victims believe the call really comes from Chinese mainland. Should they check online, the phone number would match with the governing body scammers are pretending to be.

Then, the criminals will convince these gullible students that they are found involved in complicated crimes in China and had to face criminal charges in court if they don’t co-operate to solve the case. Scammers would force their victims to send a large sum of money to their overseas bank accounts.

Students may send themselves but in most cases, the amount of money is beyond their affordability. They are then suggested to fake their own kidnapping to force parents to do the transaction.

Chinese Students In Virtual Kidnapping
Similar photos like this are sent to Chinese relatives of the victims for ransom.

Victims are also ordered to cut contact with friends or families, only sending photos or video of them being tied up and blindfolded in an unknown place to fraud their relatives. When their parents couldn’t contact them, they believe their children are kidnapped and quickly send ransom for the release.

Scammers won’t stop at the first transaction. They will demand more and more ransoms from the family until they can’t afford it anymore and inform the police.

Authorities join the search and find victims totally safe at hotel or even at their own home.

Why virtual kidnapping scams happen to Chinese students

Scams take place all around the world but the virtual kidnapping scam is most common to Chinese overseas students for certain reasons.

First, these people haven’t had much experience in dealing with such complex social situations. They tend to believe scammers and their lies. They could hardly seek help from nearby people as they are newcomers to the place.

Second, Chinese students tend to follow their authorities no matter what. They trust their government and are scared of doing something wrong. In fact, Chinese authorities have various punishments for those involved in illegal activities, strong enough for every citizen to be fear of. Once being accused of doing wrong things, Chinese students would try all means to correct their behaviors as guided by the ‘fake’ officials via phone.

China Social Credit
Chinese social credit system with customized punishments turns citizens to docile individuals. Photo: China Hive

They also fear that the news of them doing crimes will get back to China and humiliate their families. That’s why they are willing to send a whopping amount of money to clear the charges.

This is not the case of Chinese students only. Scams can happen to anyone of us, taking advantage of our fears and lack of experience. Via this story, Starbiz.com hopes our readers would stay sober and alert of these online tricks to protect our lives and others.

>>> Related post: Indians in China Refuse To Return Home, Disapproving 'Unnecessary Hype' On Social Media

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