New Zealanders and Australians have become a target of a phone scam that has reaped in millions of dollars.

At least one person in Australia has lost almost $2 million and police there are warning people to hang up immediately if they receive a call or a voicemail from a stranger speaking in Mandarin.

Last year, NZ police issuing a warning to the public after reports of a scam using the Chinese Embassy phone number.

In the past few months, the scam has resurfaced, with many New Zealanders receiving phone calls and voice messages in Mandarin from people they don't know.


The calls - and voicemails that have been left on people's phones - are in relation to a variety of topics, such as having property to pick up from the embassy, that their credit card has been used without authority or that they need to call a phone number in Beijing.

"Government agencies will never call you to ask for your bank account or credit card details by phone," police said.

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"They have used technology to enable them to use the Embassy's number to make these calls, so if you receive a call and the person on the line asks for money, do not engage with them, and hang up."

If someone thinks they have been scammed, police urge them to report the incident as soon as possible to their nearest police station.

They also advise members of the public to warn friends and family so that others in the community are also aware – particularly the more vulnerable members of the community.

In New South Wales, Australia, at least 50 people have reported they were scammed.

The scammer usually demands money and threatens harm to the victim, as well as their friends and family, if the demands are not met.


The call usually starts with a recorded message in English or Mandarin, and then transfers to a person claiming to be from the Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

NSW Police has issued a public warning about the calls.

"I want to stress that the Chinese Embassy would never contact a victim to pay money over the phone," Financial Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett said.

As well as New Zealand, the same scam has also been reported in the US, Canada and the UK.