Arrest Made in Telephone Scam Targeting the Asian Community

Posted On Tuesday May 14, 2024

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Region of Peel –  Peel Regional Police would like to inform the public of a telephone scam targeting the Asian community with threatening and intimidating phone calls demanding funds and claiming to be the Police, Customs, Interpol, and the Chinese Consulate. 

On Friday, July 15, 2022, it is alleged that the victim, a 38-year-old man from Mississauga, was contacted over the phone by an unknown suspect claiming to be a Shanghai Customs Officer. The suspect advised that the victim was suspected of committing a fraud offence in China and was required to return his funds to China for further investigation into their legitimacy. The victim was threatened with deportation back to China to face repercussions if he did not comply and was also promised the return of all funds at the completion of the investigation. 

The victim sent 15 wire transfers to accounts in Hong Kong. After the first 9 wire transfers, the victim became suspicious and requested to see an official in person before he would send any more funds. 

On Wednesday, August 31, 2022, the suspect attended the victim's residence in Mississauga. The suspect presented identification representing himself as an Executive Staff Member of Interpol of The People's Republic of China. The suspect served the victim with a Shanghai Public Security Bureau Incident Receipt and retrieved $500 cash from the victim. After this visit, the victim sent another 6 wire transfers, depleting the remainder of his funds.  The victim was defrauded of over $97,000. 

After an extensive investigation, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, investigators arrested and charged Zhi Yong WU, a 57-year-old man from Toronto, with Fraud Over $5000 and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime.

He will attend the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton at a later date. 

“With $12.5M in overall reported losses in 2023, extortion fraud remains a persistent threat to Canadians. These frauds play on the emotions of victims to instill fear and anxiety to get victims to send money. The CAFC has received reporting from victims across our country and wants to remind Canadians to stay vigilant and report any threatening calls they get claiming to be Shanghai Police, Beijing Police, Interpol or any other government or police agency.” Jeff Thomson, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

There are currently a number of active, ongoing investigations within the Region of Peel into these types of phone calls. As such, Peel Regional Police would like to share the following tips to help avoid becoming a victim of this type of scam:

  • Do your research. If you're receiving a call from someone claiming to work for the Government, research the number and contact them yourself to inquire about the legitimacy of the phone call.  
  • Do not give out personal information over the phone. 
  • Do not be afraid to say no. Do not allow someone to use threatening language to intimidate you. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fraud Bureau at 905-453–2121, ext. 3335. Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visiting peelcrimestoppers.ca. 

Peel Regional Police is dedicated to protecting individuals and groups in our community. We encourage our community to learn more about these and other trends currently affecting Canadians by visiting the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the Peel Regional Police website.

N/R: 24-115
INC: PR220353442

 

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