International student in Hamilton extorted into fake kidnapping scam: police

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Published May 5, 2022 at 5:13 pm

International student in Hamilton extorted into fake kidnapping scam: police
An international student attending McMaster University was the victim of an elaborate scam that involved a fake kidnapping, according to Hamilton Police.

An international student attending McMaster University was the victim of an elaborate scam that involved a fake kidnapping, according to Hamilton Police.

In February, the scam began when the victim received a phone call from a fraudster posing as a Chinese embassy official in Ottawa. The victim was told their identity had been compromised and was instructed to call police in Shanghai, where someone using their name had committed a serious criminal offence. The victim contacted the number provided and spoke with another fraudster posing as a high-ranking police official in China. Police say the victim was warned that they could face a lengthy jail sentence if their name was not cleared.

With the promise that all funds would be returned upon completion of the investigation, the victim transferred a significant amount of money to the fraudster, according to police.

The victim was sworn to secrecy and by late April, the victim was unable to keep up the payments and was told to fake their own kidnapping in order to ask for ransom money. The victim obliged and sent a video to their parents. Believing that their child had been kidnapped, the victim’s parents also transferred a significant amount of money to the fraudster.

In the early morning hours of Apr. 29, 2022, Hamilton Police responded to the area of Main St. West and Emerson St. after reports that an international student was being extorted and was abducted. Police say the victim was located unharmed and in good health at an address in Peterborough later that day.

Hamilton Police say they contacted police in China and the money transferred by the parents has been secured.

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