Chinese extortion scams

July 2023

We're aware some customers get messages on WhatsApp, WeChat or phone calls from scammers claiming to be from the Chinese Embassy, Customs officials and even the Chinese Attorney-General. This is a sophisticated scam currently targeting mostly international students and older migrants.

The scammers claim you’re suspected of a serious foreign crime. They demand you send large sums of money to foreign bank accounts in Hong Kong or China to avoid being deported or arrested. In some cases, victims are forced to fake their own kidnapping so family members pay a ransom for their safe return.

There may be other scenarios used, or demands to send money to other countries, including to New Zealand bank accounts. Similar versions of this scam have been reported previously.

This is a scam. Please don’t reply or follow any of their instructions. Contact the New Zealand Police.  Please share this message with your family and friends.


  • If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, please call us immediately on 0800 269 296 (or +64 4 470 3142 from overseas, charges may apply).
  • If you get messages like this, please report it to the New Zealand Police immediately and, if relevant, to New Zealand’s cyber security agency CERT NZ. 
  • Stay vigilant when anyone contacts you out of the blue with unusual or urgent requests.
  • If you get unexpected or suspicious messages, never click on any links or download attachments.
  • To find out more about how to keep yourself safe from scams and fraud, check out our Scams and Fraud guide.