36 held for online fraud in Hangzhou
POLICE in Hangzhou City in east China’s Zhejiang Province said yesterday that they have detained 36 suspects who were believed to have swindled US$ 6.6 million from more than 200 overseas companies through an online scam at the B2B platform of Alibaba.com.
Hangzhou police busted seven gangs involving 36 people, mostly university students with a good command of English and Internet skills.
Officers have obtained plenty of electronic evidence from the suspects’ computers and so far managed to contact 208 victims from countries and regions including the United Kingdom, Australia and Argentina, police said.
From last October, Hangzhou- based Alibaba. com, China’s biggest online B2B platform, kept receiving complaints from overseas users about the alleged swindling. The company called in Hangzhou police early this year.
Police immediately set up a special investigation team and soon targeted dozens of suspects in the southeastern Fujian Province.
In cooperation with their counterparts in Fujian, Hangzhou police went into action in March, nabbing 36 suspects and confiscating 35 computers and 60 fake ID cards at their hideouts in Longyan, Xiamen and Putian cities.
Initial investigations found the suspects stole account information of reputed Chinese company users on the Alibaba platform or bought such information from online hackers.
They then bought fake ID cards to apply for bankcards and lured overseas company users on the B2B platform with forged trade information under the name of those Chinese company users, Hangzhou police said.
The suspects usually posted pictures of goods, mostly bestselling electronic products, on their online stores with prices merely one-third of the original to attract overseas clients, police added.
After the overseas clients inked the deal and remitted the payment, the suspects would send inferior products or simply disappear, according to Hangzhou police.
“Most of the suspects are college graduates fluent in English and that’s the reason why the victims trusted them,” said Yu Weimin, the chief of Criminal Investigation Division of the Hangzhou Public Security Bureau.