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Report: Online fraud a threat to personal safety, social stability

By Ouyang Shijia | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-07 09:49

Telecom and internet fraud is a new type of crime that emerges with the boom in internet technologies. [Photo/VCG]

New types of telecommunication and online fraud are posing threats to personal safety and social stability given the surging demand for mobile communications and devices, a new report said.

Released on Tuesday by Chinese social and gaming giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, the report noted that the blossoming of the mobile internet, artificial intelligence and other new technologies has created fresh avenues for fraudsters to breach data and target prospective victims.

"New types of fraud are developing features of industrialization, intelligence and internationalization. And there's also been the gradual formation of a dark internet industrial chain," said Zhu Jinsong, general manager of Tencent's security management department.

The Tencent official said unlike the traditional ways seen before of fraudsters working solo or in teams, telecom and online fraud has been using new ways to get away with crimes.

Zhu gave the remarks on Tuesday at a news conference in Beijing on preventing and combating new types of telecom and online fraud. The conference was jointly held by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and Tencent.

The Chinese have become big users of digital technology. Thanks to the rapidly developing internet sector, more consumers are enjoying shopping online.

Of the nation's 610 million online shoppers, 591 million are using mobile payments, accounting for 72.5 percent of overall mobile netizens, statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center showed.

While people are actively embracing online shopping and innovative online payment services, many have experienced fraud while transacting online, the report said.

Trading scams sit in first place as the largest category of all telecom and online fraud in China, with 39.6 percent of the total.

Younger people, especially those born in the 1990s, topped all other groups with a high likelihood to experience telecom and online fraud. Some 54 percent of victims of scams are those aged between 18 to 28, representing the majority of network users.

Middle-aged and elderly people above 45 years old lose the largest amount of money in telecom and online fraud, with average losses calculated at 7,000 yuan ($995).

Tencent said in the report that a large number of online fraud will first target potential victims through social platforms. This would include secondhand goods trading platforms, internet dating sites, job sites and short video platforms.

To prevent and crack down on the fraud, more efforts would be needed to constantly update security management tools, improve technical strategies against online fraud, promote cybersecurity education, offer early warnings, and improve legal regulations, the report said.

"Telecom and internet fraud is a new type of crime that emerges with the boom in internet technologies. On the one hand, judicial authorities need to firmly combat cybercrime. On the other hand, it requires a joint effort from all sectors of society," said Zhang Xiaojin, deputy director of the first procuratorate of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Tencent claimed it will continue to implement its Guardian Project against increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals.

During the conference, Tencent also unveiled a WeChat mini program to enhance users' anti-fraud awareness and help them learn more about various frauds.

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