The Chinese community and international students are being targeted by a phone scam (file photo).
Phone scammers are using a fake kidnapping to scam the families of Chinese Kiwis and international students.
Auckland police said members of the public have reported receiving automated messages, claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate.
Those who have followed the instructions in the message have spoken to a person who convinced them to provide their personal details.
They have also been asked to provide the details of family members who live in China.
* Auckland man conned out of $30,000 in sophisticated phone scam
* ‘You’ve won $190,000’: Why we’re still falling for scams
* Scams and fraud – how to stay safe
Police said the scammers then phoned the family members in China, claiming their New Zealand relatives have been kidnapped, and demanded money.
Detective Senior Sergeant Bridget Doell said police had received “multiple complaints” from the public about the scam over the past week.
“We know that overseas authorities have also reported this scam taking place in other countries.”
In the cases reported to police, international students had been targeted by the scammers, she said.
“Our message to the public is simple – do not engage with anyone on the phone if you think you are being scammed.
“Government agencies will never ask for your personal information on the phone and you should never give out private details to people you do not know and trust,” Doell said.
Police were working with international partners to see if there were common elements to the offences, she said.
“If anyone in New Zealand is found to be participating in scams such as this, you will risk being charged and prosecuted.”
Anyone who suspected someone was trying to scam them should stop all contact and get in touch with their local police or consulate immediately, Doell said.