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Chinese communities in Chicago targeted by financial scammers

CHICAGO — Police are warning people in Chicago's Chinese communities to be aware of a new financial scam.

Here's how it works: A potential victim will receive a call from someone pretending to be with the Chinese Consulate in Chicago. The caller accuses the victim of being involved in criminal activity — and then insists the victim provides personal information to avoid any trouble. At that point, police said, the caller instructs the victim to wire all of his or her money to a bank in Hong Kong to prove innocence.

According to the Chicago Police Department, callers will use technology to make it appear as if they are calling from the consulate. In reality, police said, the calls are likely coming from overseas.

Police are warning residents not to wire anyone money.

The consulate will never call anyone to ask for money.

Anyone who has been a victim should call the consulate at 312-780-0170. Anyone with information on these crimes should call detectives at 312-747-8382.

At least three people have been targeted so far, police said, including:

  • a 37-year-old woman in the 5400 block of South Hyde Park Boulevard
  • a 64-year-old woman in the 2700 block of South Princeton Avenue
  • and a 30-year-old woman in the 5000 block of South Lake Shore Drive.

For more information, visit the consulate website or the Federal Trade Commission website.