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China: Around The Nation

Chinese police bust social media scams targeting lovelorn men

Suspects in schemes created fake identities online posing as young attractive women

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 March, 2017, 4:15pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 September, 2017, 4:22pm

Police have busted three major social media scams in eastern China, involving 149 suspects who posed as thousands of young women in to dupe men seeking romance.

Over 300 policemen were deployed in raiding the three operations in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, according to Zhejiang Satellite TV.

Although the exact amount of money involved was not revealed, one of the three companies, which presented itself as a trading company, was estimated to have daily profits of at least 120,000 yuan (US$17,400).

Such scams specifically targeted men in their 40s or 50s who had a strong financial standing, the report said. Fraudsters created thousands of bogus WeChat accounts, often pretending to be young attractive women, and befriend targeted users on the platform in an attempt to seduce them and scam them financially.

The suspects said that each employee at the company had upwards of eight different identities online. The company employed both men and women and the female employees would send voice messages to help establish the young female personas and earn the targets’ trust.

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The company also had a vast collection of videos and pictures readily available if its targets requested further verification of the “women’s” identities.

A suspect said they often started with flirting with their targets first then later cajoled them into sending the company money. The report did not specify what the men thought the money was being used for.

The suspect said that bantering phrases such as “Do you want to guess” and “You bastard” were particularly effective in capturing men’s attention. He said the company could make almost 1 million yuan each week.

“If he sends a picture of him welding, we know it’s time to say goodbye,” the suspect was quoted as saying. “If what he sends is a picture of him resting his feet on an office desk, sipping tea and playing with his mobile phone, then we would talk to him seriously because he clearly has money. It wouldn’t be a problem for him to send us some tens of thousands of yuan.”