SEATTLE — The FBI’s Seattle Division said it has received reports of email and text message-based scams targeting Chinese citizens who are on student or work visas in Washington state.
The scammers are defrauding the victims by imitating various Chinese law enforcement agencies.
The FBI says this year, at least five victims in Washington were told via email or text message that they were under investigation in China for money laundering and other crimes and that they needed to send money to law enforcement.
They were given two choices to resolve the supposed crimes they committed: Return to China to be imprisoned or transfer money to a specified account for “analysis” to prove that they are not involved in money laundering or other crimes.
Victims then transferred money to the specified account. They were also asked to provide their passport numbers and other personal information.
Losses of nearly $100,000 per victim were reported in Washington so far this year.
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Anyone who is contacted by someone claiming to be Chinese law enforcement should not give out personal information and should work to verify the text or email is genuine. The FBI says the recipient should contact the purported law enforcement agency through official channels such as an email address or phone number on the official agency website to confirm the identity.
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