Three convicted in QQ scam involving over 1,000 victims

Tian Shengjie
The scammers dangled discounted tokens to bilk their victims, most of whom were minors, Jinshan prosecutors say.
Tian Shengjie

Three men have been sentenced to jail for defrauding more than 1,000 victims across the country out of over 2 million yuan (US$285,800), a Jinshan District court announced recently. Their sentences range from four years and six months to 11 years and six months, according to the court.

Most of the victims are minors, the Jinshan procuratorate said on Thursday.

The three convicted men cheated their victims by offering fake discounts on QQ tokens, a digital currency used on the popular Chinese instant-messaging application.

Such tokens normally sell for 1 yuan each and can be used to pay phone bills, buy in-game items or decorate users' QQ home pages.

The three men, however, claimed to be offering 999 tokens for only 0.1 yuan, according to prosecutors.

One 13-year-old victim, surnamed Xia, heard about the supposed discount last year via short video app Douyin (or TikTok). After scanning a QR code provided by the con men, Xia realized that they actually charged him 999 yuan. Xia did not receive any tokens and was quickly deleted by the scammers.

Xia and his mother quickly reported the incident to Jinshan police. During their investigation, police found many other minors who had fallen prey to similar scams. About a month later, the three perpetrators surrendered themselves to authorities, the procuratorate said.

The three convicted scammers, surnamed Wang, Liu and Ying, were also fined 200,000 yuan, 20,000 yuan and 80,000 yuan, respectively.

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