Watch out: Is it fake?

Ke Jiayun
Younger people are increasingly falling prey to online fraud.
Ke Jiayun

Local victims of fraud are becoming younger with the increasing use of the Internet and electronic devices.

In its first White Paper looking at fraud over the past three years, the Yangpu District People’s Procuratorate said on Friday that many victims were involved in loan-related fraud  — mainly students attracted by “low” or “free” interest.

“Some young people were also trapped by scams related to romance, apartment or car purchases and ‘daigou,’ (a new type of cross-border shopping which allows personal shoppers to buy foreign products for customers on the Chinese mainland),” said Ouyang Hao, deputy chief procurator of the procuratorate.

The White Paper says the procuratorate had received 224 fraud cases for charge between 2016 and 2018 with 331 people involved.

Last year the number of such cases increased by nearly 70 percent over 2017, while the number of people involved jumped 80 percent.

Prosecutors said the reasons for the rise were a crackdown on fraud and growing public awareness.

Meanwhile, with the boom of social media, such as WeChat and and the dating app Momo, fraud cases involving love and marriage last year doubled.

Swindlers target different groups with different tricks, prosecutors said. Fraud on health and tourism target the elderly.

Recruitment scams are used for younger job seekers and students. Some parents were also cheated by those who claim they can get their children enrolled by good schools.

In a recent case, a man, surnamed Ji, allegedly swindled four people out of more than 210,000 yuan (US$31,320) by offering tourism services to Thai and American tourism investors between July 2017 and March 2019. Ji has been arrested and now is facing a charge.

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