FBI probes phone fraud involving scammers impersonating Chinese consulate staff in Houston

Xinhua
The US FBI has started to investigate recent telephone fraud that involved scammers posing as local Chinese Consulate General staff to obtain money or sensitive information
Xinhua

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has started to investigate recent telephone fraud that involved scammers posing as local Chinese Consulate General staff to obtain money or sensitive information, a senior official there told Xinhua on Friday.

Chinese Deputy Consul General in Houston Liu Hongmei met with officials from the Office of Foreign Missions' Houston Regional Office under the US Department of State, and listened to updates on the investigation.

The suspects, who spoke Chinese or English in their phone calls, impersonated staff of the Chinese Consulate General in Houston, with tampered caller IDs appearing to have originated from the consulate general, according to US officials.

"There is no minor matter in consular protection," Liu said, noting that the consulate general is paying close attention to the fraud cases, and has urged relative parties to solve the cases as soon as possible.

The consulate general has also posted a public notice on its website to remind people to protect their personal information.

In recent months, the Chinese Consulate General in Houston has received numerous calls to verify the authenticity of phone calls or texts claiming to be from the consulate general. Upon learning of the scam, the consulate general reported the cases to local police.

Similar fraud has recently happened in other Chinese diplomatic bodies overseas, such as the consulate general in Sydney and that in London. Last week, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security called on Chinese citizens traveling and living abroad to be alert to telecom fraud.

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