Our Risk Management Department has received notifications that members of the local community are receiving phone calls from an area code 212 (New York) phone number that has been in a foreign language and has music playing in the background. The language is most likely Mandarin Chinese and is similar to a phone scam from April 2018. The original version targeted consumers in cities with large Chinese populations and attempted to pressure victims into picking up a package at the Chinese consulate or provide information to the Chinese consulate to keep from getting into trouble. This was successful in tricking consumers in New York City alone out of $3 million.
The old version has been updated for different variants. The first is about a person or package being detained at a Chinese airport and the second is in regards to a Chinese credit card company, all involving threats.
If you receive a call like this, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Hang up or just delete the voicemail.
- If you still have concerns about the call, always verify through outside sources that a caller and the request is legitimate.
- Never provide sensitive information over the phone without having completely validated the caller.
- The Chinese embassy or consulate will not contact you by phone for personal information. This is reminiscent of the IRS scams.
- Consumers can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.
If you have responded to this call in anyway and have provided account or debit card information or personally identifiable information, please contact us immediately.