Woman falls prey to Chinese consulate scam

The phone calls received by scam victims in Palo Alto and Belmont didn't come from the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco.

Daily Post Staff Writer

A person claiming they were from the Chinese consulate has pulled a phone scam on a Palo Alto woman, police said, in a scheme similar to one that duped a Belmont woman out of $62,000 in June.

Around 5 p.m. Friday (Sept. 14) on the 900 block of Newell Road, a Palo Alto woman got a call from a fake consulate official, who gave her a phone number to call to supposedly reach the Shanghai police.

Palo Alto police aren’t saying what happened next, because the case is under investigation.

But in June, the victim in Belmont was told by the caller she needed to go to the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., because she was connected with a crime in China.

The woman said she couldn’t fly to the East Coast on such short notice, but would go instead to San Francisco, where there is a Chinese consulate.

The scammer told the woman that going to the San Francisco consulate wasn’t good enough, then transferred her to someone claiming to be a Chinese police officer.

The fake police officer then told the woman that Chinese authorities believed she was in cahoots with another woman who was arrested with more than 300 stolen credit cards.

The fake officer told the woman she had to pay $62,000 in bail so no one would come to her home in Belmont and arrest her.

The Belmont woman only found out it was a scam when she saw a similar story online and called the Hong Kong police to confirm that they received her money.

Hong Kong police said no one from their department had been in contact with her.

As for the Palo Alto case, police Sgt. Ken Kratt declined to say how much was stolen. But he said the case may be classified as an elder abuse case or grand theft, which indicates that more than $950 was taken.