Short message to scamsters: Beware!
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-03 05:48
"Your friend has ordered a song for you, please dial 13XXXX for it."
Have you ever received a similar mobile phone text messages and thought it
was a pleasant surprise? Beware, as it may be a costly trick.
Starting this month, a nationwide campaign has been launched to fight against
this type of scam, said Wu Heping, spokesman of the Ministry of Public Security
(MPS) at a press conference on Tuesday.
A resident in
Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui Province, shows an illegal text
message yesterday which reads: "Our company sells smuggled cars with
licences, guns, hallucinogenic drugs, X-ray glasses, bugging devices; and
provides high-interest loans and services of revenge on your enemies."
"Illegal mobile phone text messages have become a major cause of damage to
social order," said Wu.
Statistics showed that the Shanghai Public Security Bureau had received
16,190 reports of illegal text messages from July to October.
The authorities cracked down on four fraudulent message cases in the
provinces of Fujian, Gansu, Jiangsu and Shanghai from March to October, said the
spokesman. The swindlers tricked the victims out of between 200,000 yuan
(US$24,700) and 20 million yuan (US$2.46 million).
The new campaign is an extension of a crackdown started last year by the MPS
on pornographic and subversive content and spam messages sent by mobile phones
or through the Internet, officials said.
Wu's ministry will work with the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) and
the China Banking Regulatory Commission to stamp out messages that dupe people
into turning over personal account information, or involve prostitution,
gambling, contract murder, guns for sale and fake lotteries, officials said.
During the campaign, mobile phones users are encouraged to call the police
hotline 110 for help if they suspect any cheating in the text message, said Wu.
On receiving the report, the police department will forward the information
to telecoms operators, who will shut down the illegal numbers, and to banks, who
will close related accounts, Wu said.
The MII is drafting a new set of rules for text message management, which may
require mobile phone users to use real names when registering with service
operators, said Zhao Zhiguo, deputy director of the MII's Telecommunications
Zhang Jinsong, an official from the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said
that it was setting up a verification system to keep people from opening
accounts under false names, and to train banking staff to assess the
truthfulness of the second-generation identification cards.
Nowadays, text messaging (SMS) is extremely popular among Chinese mobile
phone users, and generates huge profits for SMS providers.
Wu disclosed that the number of mobile phone users would surpass 400 million
by the end of 2005, and that a total of 500 million messages are sent every day.
(China Daily 11/03/2005 page2)