Mandarin-language robocalls are back! They first appeared in 2018, but now have become a staple on my personal cell phone. I have a Houston area code, and their sizeable Chinese population is apparently fertile ground for the scam. According to the FBI, the scammers trick residents into believing they are in legal trouble with the Chinese government.
Unfortunately, by March 2019, more than 350 complaints had reached the FBI with a combined loss of over forty million dollars. The Agency explained that the calls have been effective because they are meant to prey on the Chinese immigrant population.
America actually has a storied history of scamming immigrants. One of the most notorious con men was George C. Parker. He began his career in 1883 and managed to talk newly arrived, uneducated immigrants into purchasing the Brooklyn Bridge, telling them they could make money by charging tolls. He sold the bridge multiple times a week as well as Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the tomb of U.S. Grant. He managed these hustles for thirty years before the law finally caught up with him and sentenced him to life in prison.
So, I’m just thankful I don’t speak Mandarin and won’t be tempted by the scammers. My student loan and credit cards are paid off, so I’m good to go. Oh, the phone just rang; it’s the IRS…gotta go.
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