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China Daily Global / 2021-04 / 12 / Page011

Tougher efforts to pull the plug on mod cons

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-04-12 00:00

In an instruction published on Friday, President Xi Jinping called for resolute efforts to crack down on telecommunication and online fraud.

The internet has undoubtedly brought greater convenience to people in their daily lives, yet it has also produced new risks as some fraudsters use it to victimize people.

Data show that in 2020 alone, police nationwide solved 322,000 telecom and online fraud cases, arrested 361,000 suspects, froze 272 billion yuan ($41.5 billion) in funds, and prevented 8.7 million people from becoming prey to fraudsters. A total of 187 billion yuan in losses has been avoided.

The form they take varies, but the scams all share one thing in common, namely the fraudsters trick their victims into transferring money into their accounts under various guises. In one case which attracted nationwide attention, in August 2016, a young girl Xu Yuyu in Linyi city, East China's Shandong province, died of a sudden cardiac arrest after having lost 9,900 yuan to online fraudsters. Six criminals received penalties.

Telecom and online fraud also pose a grave challenge to trust-building, which is a fundamental basis for social and economic development.

To curb telecom and online fraud, there are three measures that must be taken. First, the personal information collected by banks, telecommunications and internet companies must be well protected. In the case of Xu, according to the court judgment, one of the people involved planted a Trojan horse in the Shandong provincial examination system and downloaded the information of the examinees, while another bought 1,800 pieces of personal information from him at the price of 0.5 yuan each. Had there been ample protection of the examinees' personal information, Xu would not have been defrauded and she would not have died.

Second, people's awareness of fraud must be strengthened so that they won't be easily cheated. In some cities the local police post posters in public places to inform people, a practice that could be implemented elsewhere.

Third, the crackdown on telecom and online fraud should persist. Only when the police insist on striking all telecom and online fraudsters will such crimes be eliminated.

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