Why is Someone Leaving me Chinese Voicemails? (It's a scam!)

"What are these weird Asian voicemails I'm getting?"

Have you gotten any of the weird Chinese voicemails lately?

 Are you wondering what they are?

 The short answer is, it's a scam.

 The long answer is, according to this FTC memo:

 "People across the country have reported getting a call or message saying they have to pick up a package at the Chinese Consulate office. Or, they need you to give them information to avoid being in trouble with the Chinese Consulate. Then the caller asks for your bank or credit card information, or tells you to make a bank transfer to them." 

 There's the kicker: since they're not the real Chinese Consulate or Embassy, they take your bank information and steal your money.

 Once the wire tranfer goes through, it is impossible to get your money back.

 People say they've recieved calls from 212 area code numbers such as 212-264-9376, 212-361-5492, 212-244-9951, 212-242-7110, 212-334-5868, and 212-244-9342 from male or female Asian callers. Other people report these calls coming from 202 area code numbers (Washington DC). Some people report that the scammers are specifically targeting people with Chinese last names, but people without Chinese surnames have also reported getting these "bizarre Asian voicemails".

"Who would ever fall for this? It's so obviously a scam."

 Immigrants are a vulnerable group, and often they want to make sure that they are following all the complex rules by the book. If they mess up, they could get deported and lose the life they've built in the US. This scam preys on the fears of Chinese immigrants to steal their money.

Like the Phony IRS scam, the fraudsters hope that whoever the reach is scared enough to lose their common sense. They're hoping that the fear of deportation is enough for their targets to send them money "just to make it go away".

Unfortunately, fear is a really powerful tool for scammers. Just ask anyone who was spooked enough by talking to an "IRS agent" to not question the fact that they demanded to be paid in iTunes gift cards. We can't let scammers get the better of our Chinese neighbors.

Do you know any Chinese friends or coworkers who might be targeted by this scam? Spread the word, and warn them of this scam!


  1. Good article. Will share with Chinese friends.
    Kinda sad seeing spam comments attached to your project.

    1. Thank you my friend. I try to delete the spam comments but it is hard to keep up with the flood. Comments like yours help me remember why I started this project- If I can protect just one person from a scam it will all be worth it.

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  4. Hi, i have something similar but not a scam. Well maybe it is. not sure. I get these messages in an asian language, no idea which one. Ive been getting them for over a month now. Have no idea what they are saying, and i dont have missed call or anything they just pop up in my voicemail. Is that what you are talking about?

    1. Hi TallGirl, yes it is. What's happening here is they're sending the message to everyone, hoping that one or two percent of those people is a Chinese immigrant who will understand the Chinese voicemail message, get scared, and call them back to give them money.