Recently, a report circulated that the police successfully cracked a new network fraud case under the cover of ‘adding WeChat friends to sell tea’. Fraudsters pretended to be young beautiful girls and cheat money from victims. There are many expats who have encountered the 'beauty girl scam'...and it now worringly seems that these fraudsters can speak English!
After investigation, the case was discovered to be a typical example of telecommunications network fraud. Police found out that this fraudulent gang was registered under an advertising company. Every ‘online marketer’ needed to receive training before work. First, they collected a batch of WeChat accounts from the black market. They were sent to the ‘software department’ of the company to change locations and profile information and add friends via a WeChat plug-in. One account can add over 800 contacts in a day.
The 'marketing department' would hire models to take photos in various daily scenes such as offices, shopping malls, parks, etc. The information would be provided to ‘grow’ the new accounts. 'Online marketers' have different versions of the fraud script provided by the 'promotion department'. First, they’d ‘cultivate feelings’ with the victims, and then use the ‘customer service treasure’ software to make a special web page, and then follow the design of the story, such as faking illness, or helping their poor grandfather to sell tea leaves etc...The public security organisations would then send inferior, poor quality tea to the victims for high profits.
‘Online marketers' made an excuse to sell tea.
In 'online marketers' WeChat Moments, the photos are taken using their hired model.
Police captured 79 suspects and collected more than 190 computers and more than 200 mobile phones on the scene. After preliminarily combing through the case in Gansu Province, they found it was worth more than RMB 2 million. On June 16th, the Gansu police escorted 51 suspects from Quanzhou, Fujian, via train.
Police have cracked down many fraud networks in recent years.
According to CNN reports, in Feburary 2018, Guangzhou police exposed and caught a criminal gang. They captured the main leader of the gang and 67 suspects, and seized more than 200 computers, 300 mobile phones and sim cards. There were a large number of scripts, red wine and 1 mobile hard disk. According to preliminary statistics, there were more than 3000 victims, covering more than 20 provinces and municipalities throughout the country, involving about RMB 8 million.
Another investigation on January extended to apps run in 13 provinces across China. Over 600 individuals had been arrested and 21 companies shut down in cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Changsha and Wuhan. On dating apps the gangs formerly operated on, some of the so-called single women were in fact chat bots programmed to flirt with users, especially ones that were new to the platform.
Last year, an ‘internet romance’ would need you to transfer money for urgent help. The police found out it was thanks to an organization company working with many departments to cheat victims. It was a 'big company'. The total amount they seized from fraudsters was RMB 5 million. 200 mobile phones and 60 suspects worked in this 'company'.
GiC team hopes that you are not among the victims, and wants to remind expats in China to be wary if strangers add you. You should be alert to not order products from or transfer money to them, otherwise, the fraudsters will just take your money and go away.