166 detained in online dating telecom scam

Xinhua
The group targeted migrant workers from Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan, asking for reimbursement for fake train and air tickets or requested money to cover emergencies or hardships.
Xinhua

Police in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have detained 166 people in a telecom fraud scheme that targeted Chinese migrant workers through online dating messages.

Police in Baotou City received reports in December about victims being swindled out of money through online dating. On Thursday, police busted the gang at 22 sites in Baotou.

According to the gang leader, named Long, the group targeted migrant workers from the southwestern provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan using mobile apps. They won the trust of victims, then asked for reimbursement for fake train and air tickets or requested money to cover emergencies or hardships.

Most of the scammers are from Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan, police said. They joined the group through acquaintances. So far, more than 100 migrant workers were tricked by the swindlers, and the amount of money involved exceeds one million yuan (US$154,800).

Further investigation is under way.

Many people in the southwest have left their hometowns to seek better-paying jobs in more developed areas of China. According to government figures, China had about 282 million migrant workers in 2016.

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