Police warn of extortion scams targeting Chinese community in York Region

A York Regional Police patch is shown Dec, 19, 2022 in Aurora, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey. AMC

Police north of Toronto say scammers posing as Chinese law enforcement officials are targeting the Chinese community in York Region and demanding money from victims for fabricated legal issues.

York Regional Police are warning the community about a recent surge in police extortion schemes in which scammers make victims believe that they are facing legal trouble in China and must transfer money or provide personal information to fix the issue.

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Police say victims in three separate cases have been defrauded of more than $1 million combined.

They say the scammers use various tactics, including phone calls and social media messages, to trick people into believing their personal information has been compromised or that they are accused of crimes such as money laundering or drug trafficking.

Police say the scammers then demand that victims transfer money or provide personal information to make the problem go away, in some cases threatening people with arrest or deportation if they fail to comply.

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Police say people can protect themselves from such scams by always verifying a caller’s identity, not sharing personal information by phone or email and reporting any incidents to the York Regional Police financial crimes unit.

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