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China reveals 10 most common scams as awareness campaign begins

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China’s Ministry of Public Security on Tuesday revealed the 10 most prevalent telecommunication and cyber scams in the country, a day after it co-initiated a monthlong nationwide fraud awareness campaign.

The ministry said the average age of telecom and cyber fraud victims in 2023 was 37, with 62.1 percent of victims aged between 18 and 40, and 33.1 percent between 41 and 65.

Nearly 88.4 percent of all telecom and cyber fraud cases reported across the country involved 10 common scam types, including false investment schemes, the impersonation of e-commerce logistics support, and fake credit repair services.

Brushing scams and click-farm jobs topped the list, often luring students and people in low-income groups with promises of earning easy money by completing online tasks before demanding payments. A victim of one such scam in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu lost over 420,000 yuan (about 58,968 US dollars).

Bogus investment and financial products were another major threat, with scammers building credibility through investment advice before eventually blocking victims’ withdrawals after gaining access to their funds. A victim from Anhui Province lost 1.4 million yuan in a “boyfriend” romance scam variant of this fraud.

Fake online shopping scams also saw a surge, with fraudsters posting deceptive advertisements online and luring victims into direct transactions. Once payments are made, scammers demand additional fees under various pretexts before eventually blocking the victims. A victim in Sichuan Province lost over 13,000 yuan while trying to purchase equipment from a fraudulent company online.

Other prominent scams included fake loans, impersonation of authorities, online dating deceptions, and gaming product sales fraud.

By publicizing typical cases of fraud and the latest scam tactics, authorities aim to improve the public’s awareness of fraud and ability to prevent it.

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