Chinese international students in the U.K. have been a persistent target of Chinese scammers for over two years. The ongoing activity by RedZei (aka RedThief) group bypasses all the steps taken by service providers and users to avoid scam calls.

Here’s how it works

A report by The Guardian detailed a visa scam fooling Chinese students into paying huge sums of money to avoid being deported.
  • RedZei chose its targets carefully by researching them and finding a rich potential victim. 
  • The fraudsters used new pay-as-you-go U.K. phone numbers for each wave to bypass phone number-based blocking.
  • The Chinese scammers switch between SIMs from various mobile carriers such as Telia, Three, EE, O2, and Tesco Mobile.
Researchers suspect that this incident is a part of the RedZei campaign that began as early as August 2019.

Voicemailing and other tricks 

The RedZei campaign involves calling the targets once or twice a month using a unique U.K. phone number. If these scam calls are left unanswered, the fraudsters leave an unusual automated voicemail.
  • The voicemails impersonate companies such as China Mobile, Bank of China, and the Chinese embassy to social engineer the students into giving up their personal details.
  • A few additional variations included scam calls pretending to be Chinese government officials, such as the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Chinese Embassy in the U.K, or the Chinese Communications Administration, as well as courier services DHL and Royal Mail.
  • Other themes adopted by RedZei include abnormal usage of NHS numbers and international parcels delivered from DHL.

Be safe

The potential targets are suggested to stay vigilant against such frauds and report to the university if they suspect any scam of this nature or receive such scam calls. The universities can also share information about such scams concerning international students.
Cyware Publisher