Business / Economy

Internet fraud on the rise as payments by mobile boom

By Chai Hua in Shenzhen (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-21 08:06

The number of people being deceived by fraud on the mobile internet is increasing as the market of mobile payments has boomed recently in China.

The size of third party mobile payments in 2015 reached over 11.8 trillion yuan ($1.8 trillion) in 2015, up by nearly 70 percent compared with 2014, according to iResearch consultancy data.

One of the main methods of fraud is payment virus which can upload users' information without them knowing, intercept the verification code and steal users' bank account information.

In 2015, about 326,000 new payment viruses emerged and more than 25 million users were affected in China, almost equivalent to the population of Australia.

Some bad habits of using the mobile internet can also increase the opportunity of being fooled, such as using the same pass code for multiple accounts, linking to unknown public Wi-Fi and filling in personal information on websites scanned from QR codes.

Fraud through mobile payments also present some different features compared with offline fraud. For instance, men are considered more rational and cautious than women, but more than 70 percent of victims of mobile payment fraud were men, according to a report released by Tencent on May 19.

The report, based on the big data of its mobile payment platform users in the first quarter of 2016, also showed more than half of the victims were salaried men and only 17 percent were retirees.

In addition, the percentage of victims among residents in Sichuan, Shandong and Hebei was the highest - over 7 percent.

The report also showed the most common fraud to be fake penalty messages from police and legal departments, 38 percent of the total.

That was followed by those pretending to be customer services, sending links to phishing sites.

Besides new fraud methods based on new payment channels, some offline criminal acts are also combining with mobile payments, which have followed changes in lifestyles, penetrating almost every detail of our life.

The report shows 12 percent of mobile payment criminal cases involve gambling and another 10 percent illegal business operations.

Xu Guo'ai, vice general manager of Financial Technology at Tencent, said Tencent promises to compensate all losses of clients tricked by online payment fraud, "if not caused by their own negligence." He said the company has paid tens of millions yuan of compensation so far.

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