China’s internet watchdog ramps up crackdown on online scams amid growing number of counterfeit financial services apps
- The Cyberspace Administration of China said it has removed 42,000 counterfeit financial services apps since the start of this year
- The illegal platforms were added to its fraud blacklist, which includes more than 3.8 million websites and 514,000 apps
Consumers have also been hoodwinked by some fraudulent platforms that claimed to be state-backed, the CAC said.
The huge numbers cited by the CAC reflect the vast potential market, a country of more than 1.4 billion people, where these scammers operate.
Mainland China, the world’s second-largest economy, had more than 1 billon internet users at the end of December 2021, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. The country is also the world’s biggest market for smartphones and personal computers.
Citing one example of online fraud, regulators said scammers in June conned an internet user surnamed Qin, from eastern Shandong province, out of 60,000 yuan (US$8,950) after downloading a counterfeit Mashang Consumer Finance app. The fake app had asked Qin to pay 10,000 yuan for financial loan insurance and 50,000 yuan as capital verification fee. No loan was given and no money was returned.
The CAC, according to the report, was working with the Ministry of Public Security and other relevant departments to keep track of these scams and establish an early warning system online to alert consumers.