Chinese Network Behind One of The World’s Largest Online Scams

(VitalNews.org) – A concerning number of fake online designer shops operated from China have scammed over eight hundred thousand people into sharing credit card details and other sensitive personal data. An investigation done by the Guardian, Die Zeit, and Le Monde gives a look into the mechanics of what the UK has said is one of their largest scams.

As a part of this scam, more than seventy thousand face websites have been created. Data was examined by reporters and IT experts who said that the scam operation is very organized. Programmers who are a part of this operation are working at an industrial scale and they sell discounted goods from brands like Dior, Nike, and other high-end designer names.

These websites have been set up to lure shoppers into thinking they are getting a good deal, but they are instead being conned into giving sensitive information. The websites have no connection at all to the brands that they are claiming to sell, and many of the customers who were scammed said that they didn’t receive any items.

The first fake shops that were established were made almost a decade ago and, in the last three years, more than one million orders have been processed. Many of the shops now have been abandoned, but about twenty thousand of them are still operational.

Hundreds of thousands of victims from the United States and UK have shared information like email addresses, names, phone numbers, physical addresses, and credit card information with their three-digit security numbers.

Katherine Hart, a lead officer at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute said, “Often these people are part of serious and organized crime groups so they are harvesting data and may use it against people later, making consumers more susceptible to phishing attempts.”

Many experts have said that “data is the new currency,” which is true, especially for those who are operating a scam like this.

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