China cracks down on Telemarketing Fraud

Fraudsters busted over phone scam

Twenty criminal gangs were busted and 601 suspects held in late March for cheating through telemarketing, Beijing police said yesterday.

Fu Zhenhua, deputy chief of Beijing public security bureau, said the move “showed Beijing police’s determination to fight against property-related crimes, growing in times of the financial crisis”.

“We are reminding the public to enhance their vigilance against cheating,” he said.

Bureau statistics showed cheating through mobile text messages had cost the public 100 million yuan ($14 million) in the first three months of this year.

Police said criminals were stealing consumers’ personal information, like names, phone numbers and addresses from information collectors, insurance agents and the Internet, as well as exchanging the information with other telemarketing companies.

They recruit telephone operators to promote ostensibly high-end products, such as 3G mobile phones, jewelry, Rolex watches, costing significantly lower than the market price. Eventually these turn out to be counterfeit or shoddy products.

A “limited edition, golden Samsung mobile phone” developed by a tele-shopping company, which claimed to be the “cooperative partner” of the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee and China Post, and sold at 2,580 yuan apiece, is unusable.

Ma Wenqing, a victim from Gansu province, said he received a phone call to promote a cellphone model with dual cards and dual standby functions this January.

“They said it was a quality product and offered 1,000 yuan worth of free calls if I bought the phone, priced at 1,980 yuan,” he said.

But he received a shoddy product without the fancy features or the 1,000-yuan worth of free calls promised.

“What’s more irritating, since I bought the crappy phone, I receive at least two calls a day trying to sell commemorative coins or watches. They are disturbing my normal life!” Ma said.

Consumers were taken in by the unusually low pricing and the callers claiming to be partners of the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee and China Post, police said.

The cheaters hired logistics companies to pack the commodities uniformly and send them to China Post for delivery. Beijing police said they found a logistics company had sent out over 40,000 articles, worth over 55 million yuan.

Source: China Daily

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