Fraudsters are conning Chinese students out of tens of thousands of pounds just days after they arrive at universities in the UK.
At the start of August, a Nottingham University student had her laptop, containing identifying information and bank details, stolen at Heathrow airport.
A week later the student, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, received a phone call purporting to be from the Chinese embassy. She was told the embassy had received information from Chinese police alleging she was connected to a money-laundering case in China. “At that time, I was already panicked,” she said.
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The caller encouraged her to co-operate with the investigation, and she was provided with a case number and transferred to what was claimed to be a Chinese police office.
The scammers, acting as police officers, provided more details around the case, and gave the student a URL to a website claiming to belong to the Chinese prosecutor general’s office. The website contained details including the student’s national ID card number, and the photograph used on that ID card.
The student was told she would need to return to China and was threatened with imprisonment unless she made a videotaped statement via QQ, a Chinese social media platform. She did so after seeing a man dressed as a police officer via a video chat.
“I thought it will ruin my life if I cannot tackle this case,” she said. “I was too scared to think of anything except crying because they told me at the beginning I can’t tell anyone, including parents, otherwise they will be implicated.”
“They believe if they don’t pay the money they won’t get their visa, or get their visa taken away”
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