China reveals its top five sources of online fraud

'Brushing' tops the list, as quantity of forbidden content continue to rise


China’s Ministry of Public Security has revealed the five most prevalent types of fraud perpetrated online or by phone.

The e-commerce scam known as “brushing” topped the list and accounted for around a third of all internet fraud activity in China. Brushing sees victims lured into making payment for goods that may not be delivered, or are only delivered after buyers are asked to perform several other online tasks that may include downloading dodgy apps and/or establishing e-commerce profiles. Victims can find themselves being asked to pay more than the original price for goods, or denied promised rebates.

Brushing has also seen e-commerce providers send victims small items they never ordered, using profiles victims did not create or control. Dodgy vendors use that tactic to then write themselves glowing product reviews that increase their visibility on marketplace platforms.

False investment and money management advisors are next on the list, followed by dodgy loan schemes.

Impersonation of customer service operatives is another common scam, while falsely purporting to represent legal authorities also makes the list.

China’s internet oversight and law enforcement agencies have all warned the nation’s netizens not to fall for these scams and that they continue to crack down on platforms and individuals that perpetrate them.

The Ministry has also announced a month-long anti-fraud campaign.

Chinese authorities also continue to track breaches of its many regulations regarding content it’s legal to display online. The March 2022 report on illegal content found 12.586 million posts on the wrong side of the law and is interesting as it shows internet nasties found in 2022 exceed those found in 2021.

China illegal internet content count March 2022

Click to enlarge

With major Chinese cities currently locked down, and many citizens unhappy with the duration and strictness of those efforts, Beijing has also forbidden posting complaints about the situation on grounds that they could be seditious material aimed at creating social unrest rather than genuine expressions of anguish or anger. The Register awaits

the April statistics with interest to see if they reflect citizens' anger.

Ironically, the policy of forbidding online protest has itself created social unrest online as Chinese citizens reject appeals to ride out lockdowns as a means of protecting future generations. Some have taken to posting that they already represent China’s last generation, a reference to their intention not to have kids as a protest against government policy and the economic difficulties it has created - demand for consumer electronics has dropped like a rock according to local chipmaker SMIC.

References to “last generation” have therefore, of course, also been targeted for deletion from China’s internet. ®

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