Wednesday, December 7 2016

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Careless social media users allow online scams to flourish

Update: November, 05/2016 - 09:00
The division for hi-tech crime prevention of the Hà Nội Public Security Department investigate a group of online scammers. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI  Social media users are not being careful enough as Internet fraud gets increasingly sophisticated, the Hà Nội Public Security Department warned yesterday.

The Hi-tech Crime Prevention (PC50) division of the capital city’s police department unveiled yesterday the details of an online scam carried out by Nguyễn Tuấn Linh, a 29-year-old native of  Thanh Hóa Province.

Linh claimed on Facebook that he imports Chinese products and sells them at cheaper than market prices, tricking gullible customers into ordering products and paying for them via bank transfer. Within two months, Linh had defrauded five customers to the tune of around VNĐ180 million (US$8,100).

Earlier this year, in April, the division discovered that Nguyễn Văn Hào, 23, resident of Vĩnh Phúc Province, used a website to get money from mobile phone users.

Hào advertised on the website that if mobile phone users topped up their mobile phone accounts via the website, they would get 10 times more credit. He made VNĐ116 million ($5,200) from the scam.                      

Other common types of online fraud are selling ‘lucky’ mobile phone numbers or cheap plane tickets or raising business capital online.

Most online fraud cases violated Article 226 of the national Penal Code for illegally posting or using information on the Internet and the telecommunication network, officials said.   

Hà Thị Thu Hằng, deputy head of the division, told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) that it has become common that scammers not only spread false, shocking, misleading information but also take advantage of social media platforms to steal money from their users.

Since the beginning of this year, the division has handled 23 online scammers and passed on several more to other responsible agencies. Fifty per cent of the cases succeed in getting cash in hand.

According to Hằng criminals able to use advanced technologies can reach several victims in different places without having to approach them.

The fact that Facebook is based in another country, and social media users are not restricted in terms of age, gender, occupation and education, makes identification difficult. Meanwhile the scams are getting more and more common and complicated.

“There are too many social media users, but their awareness of online scams is low, making it easy for them to fall into traps,” she added.

She advised that social media users increase the security level of their accounts so that scammers can’t steal their online identities for nefarious purposes.

Social media users should also beware of unclear, misleading information and check it before responding, commenting or sharing.

With online competitions, asking netizens to pay fees or taxes with scratch cards before receiving prizes is the most obvious sign of a scam. Government agencies do not act through any intermediary for taxes. Prize winners are required to pay fees and taxes at tax or customs agencies.  VNS

 

 

 

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