Found Safe Canada - 3 Chinese students, ages 16-20, missing in extortion scam, Toronto, Nov 2017


Yue “Kandy” Liu, 17, was found in Montreal Sunday night. She contacted police after receiving multiple messages about her disappearance when she turned on her phone.

Juanwen Zhang, 20, was found Saturday afternoon after she was last seen near Yonge and Grenville Sts. on Wednesday.

Police are still searching for 16-year-old Ke “Jaden” Xu. He was last seen near Eglinton Ave. E. and Midland Ave. on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 10:30 a.m.
Nov 17 2017
Ransom scam targeting Chinese students reported in Richmond Hill
A scam that first targeted at least three Chinese students in Toronto has now been reported in Richmond Hill, York Regional Police say.

According to police, the victims were contacted by suspects who claimed to be Chinese police or government officials and were told that they’re under investigation for a crime they committed in China.

In each case, the victims were told to “go into hiding” and ordered to stay off their phones and social media.
The scam is making its rounds across Canada, with RCMP detachments in B.C. and Alta. Issuing alerts about it earlier this year.

Police in York Region are urging residents – especially Chinese students – to “trust their instincts” if they receive a “suspicious” phone call.

“Do not be talked into providing personal information or payments by methods that you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with and call companies or agencies back to verify their information,” they say
CBC Investigates [h=1]'You'll get a dead body': Father was 'distraught' over international student's fake kidnapping[/h]
[h=3]Visa students young, vulnerable and ill-equipped for life on their own, Chinese consulate says[/h] By Lisa Xing, Lu Zhou, CBC News Posted: Feb 21, 2018
In an exclusive interview with CBC Toronto, Zhang recounted the horror and stress of being at the centre of a missing person investigation that involved multiple police and government organizations investigating what turned out to be a scam aimed at extorting money from the families of young, vulnerable international students from China.

'She's traumatized, but more so, embarrassed.' — Mike Zhang, father
Before he even learned his daughter was missing, Zhang received a strange phone call one November day.

"I heard a man with a southern [Mandarin] accent who said, 'Hello, Mr. Zhang.' It gave me a bad vibe, so I hung up," Zhang said in Mandarin.

He didn't think much of it until his wife called a few hours later to report their daughter's friends were looking for her. Their phone rang again.

"He said, 'We have your daughter. Have one million [yuan] ready. Do not call the police or you'll get a dead body,'" Zhang told CBC Toronto. "The only thought I had was she will never be able to come back. Someone has murdered her — that was my first reaction. I was so distraught."

Late last year, Juanwen and two Chinese international high school students in the Toronto area fell victim to the ransom scam, which captured attention countrywide. Between September and November, the Chinese consulate in Toronto said it received about 10 calls daily from panicked parents and students, as the fraudsters sometimes posed as consul officials.
May 17 2018
Looks like the scam is back
The Toronto Police Service would like to advise the public of a scam targeting Chinese people.

Police dealt with several occurrences in November 2017 and another in May 2018.

It was reported that:

- unknown person(s) are contacting Chinese people

- they are told to go into hiding or their family in China will be hurt

- they are also told not to use social media or cell phones

It is further reported that:

- these unknown person(s) then contact the families in China

- they tell the family that their son or daughter has been kidnapped

- a demand for a large ransom is made

Police were in contact with all the victims of the scam.

Police would like to remind the public to be vigilant and contact police immediately if they feel they are involved in this scam.
This is happening here in Victoria now, too. A girl was just found the other night. Lots of people are getting the calls, not just Chinese. I've gotten 2 of them, but I have no idea what they are actually saying. It starts with an automated message from a Vancouver area code.

"Victoria, BC – Investigators are warning the public, specifically members of our Chinese community, as they continue investigating an elaborate extortion scheme known as a “virtual kidnapping.”Officers were called to investigate after a young woman was reported missing by her roommate on the evening of Monday, May 14th. As the investigation progressed, investigators learned of evidence pointing to the young woman being held against her will. After additional investigative efforts, a search for the missing young woman was successful in locating her that night. She was physically unharmed and appears to have been victimized, along with her family, in a virtual kidnapping.
In addition to the police resources utilized, and the emotional cost to the victim and her family, the suspects were able to take a significant amount of money from the family before the extortion was uncovered."
May 19 2018
[h=1]Parents, friends of international student defrauded out of over $200K in virtual kidnapping scam[/h]
The female student, 18, a student at McGill University in Montreal, was told that she had been implicated in a crime ring and would be arrested if she failed to take photos of herself tied up and in distress, making it appear that she had been kidnapped, police said.
[h=2]Don't talk to scammers, police say[/h]Insp. Tim Maw of the Durham Regional Police said Saturday that police want to make sure that the public is aware of such scams.

"We would just like to warn the public that if you suspect this could be a virtual kidnapping scam to not talk to the perpetrators but to call the local police for further advice," Maw said.

To report a scam attempt, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at: or call 1-888-495-8501.
More virtual kidnapping scams.
June 13 2018
Vancouver police renew ‘virtual kidnapping’ warning after scam targets 3rd student
Vancouver police renew ‘virtual kidnapping’ warning after scam targets 3rd student

In the most recent case, police said the target was a young woman in her early 20s from mainland China who is in Canada on a student visa.

The VPD said the woman was targeted by someone claiming to be a Chinese police officer and calling from a number that was faked to appear as if it was coming from a real Chinese police department.

The scammers convinced the woman she had been implicated in a money laundering investigation, and would have to send Bitcoin back to China to cover police and court costs, according to the VPD.

More scams targeting Chinese international students.
Aug 26 2021 rbbm.
Toronto Police Service :: News Release #50784
''Phone: 416-808-4300
The Toronto Police Service would like to advise the public of a scam targeting Chinese international students.

It is reported that:

- unknown individuals are contacting Chinese international students studying in Toronto

- the unknown individuals are claiming to be with the authorities in China

- the scammers call the students and inform them they are under investigation in China for various types of offences

- the students are told to send money via wire transfers, usually to China or Hong Kong, in order to resolve the matter

- the students are told not to tell anyone about this

Police would like to remind the public to be vigilant and never transfer money to unknown accounts.

If anyone receives these types of calls, please contact police immediately to report it. If anyone believes they have been a victim of this scam, or a similar scam, they are urged to also report it to police.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-2222, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at, online on our Facebook Leave a Tip page, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes or Google Play.''
Noting this recent similar scam in Utah..

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