Students urged to be vigilant against phone scams

31 May 2018

Students are being warned about a scam that is currently targeting international students across Australia, which in some cases, has left students and their families out of pocket by up to $50,000.

What is the scam?

The scammers, who authorities believe are operating outside Australia, contact victims – largely international students – telling them they are allegedly implicated in crimes in China. The scammers then coerce the victims into a series of actions and make threats that their families in China will be harmed if they don’t cooperate. Similar versions of this scam have been reported in other countries including Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States.

What does it mean for you?

It is important for you to be aware and vigilant in identifying potential scams on yourself or others.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt urged all students and staff to keep an eye out for each other and share information about the scam. 

"We want our international students to know they can trust ANU staff and the authorities when reporting these types of incidents," he said.

“By reporting these incidents, students are doing their bit to make sure that others may not become victims of this crime.”

What can you do to protect yourself?

The Australian Government’s Scamwatch website includes tips you can follow to protect yourself.

Importantly, if you get called by someone making threats about arrest or deportation, be mindful that it is likely a scam. Do not send them any money. Instead, hang up the phone immediately and report the call. Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone.

Students who think they may have already been scammed, or have concerns that their identity has been compromised, are being urged to contact IDCARE. If you are under immediate threat or have concern for your safety you should contact the police on 000.

What other support is available to you?

ANU has support available to staff and students. 

For more information on support services at ANU call 6125 2442 or visit the ANU Counselling website.

Emergency contacts

For life threatening emergencies first call 0-000

then dial ANU Security on 612 52249.

Canberra Rape Crisis Centre 6247 2525 (7am-11pm) or 131 444 (after hours).