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China’s online scam victims cheated of US$1,400 each on average, says internet watchdog

Amount cheated has risen massively over the years, with Beijing seeing the most number of internet fraud cases last year

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 4:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 4:27pm

Online fraud victims in China were each cheated of over 9,400 yuan (HK$10,500) on average last year, according to an internet fraud watchdog’s annual report.

The average amount of money each victim lost was almost 90 per cent higher than in 2015, according the report by Liewang Platform, a website where internet users on the mainland can report online fraud cases.

Liewang’s 2016 Internet Fraud Trend Research Report showed that China’s per capita loss from internet fraud has risen more than sixfold over the past few years, soaring from 1,449 yuan lost per average per victim in 2013 to 9,471 yuan last year, according to its figures.

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In all, an estimated 195 million yuan was lost to internet fraud last year, compared with 2015’s 127 million yuan, the report said.

The increase in the amount of money cheated was despite a 17 per cent drop in the number of online fraud cases reported on Liewang last year compared with 2015. A total of 20,623 cases were reported in 2016, compared with 24,889 the previous year.

Phishing websites accounted for most of the online fraud cases reported to the group, amounting to a loss of 110 million yuan. Nearly 70 per cent of all fraud cases were carried out through computers, rather than smartphones. About 40 per cent of the victims took the initiative to transfer their money to the scammer.

Beijing topped the list of cities in terms of the number of cases and amount of money lost, the report said. Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou were also hubs for online fraud.

Significantly more men – three quarters – fell for online scams compared with women. Victims were predominantly aged between 18 and 29, according to the report, which was released last Friday.

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Liewang Platform, which has been collecting information on internet fraud since 2013, was officially launched as an online fraud watchdog in 2015 by the Beijing Public Security Bureau network security corps and the 360 Centre for Internet Security.

Meanwhile, the annual report of another watchdog group, Anquan Alliance, said it handled more than 1.52 million cases of online fraud reports last year.

It blacklisted over 456,000 websites after looking into the fraud reports made against them, the watchdog said in its report, also published on Friday.