China Using Vast Cyber Network To Swindle Americans and Europeans

( – There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the perils of using TikTok, a social media platform based in China. However, that site isn’t the only one originating from that communist-led country. A recent report from a noted British website shed some light on a Chinese criminal operation using a vast cyber network to swindle Americans and Europeans.

In early May, The Guardian published a report detailing the results of an international investigation into a criminal operation described as one of the largest online scams of its kind by the United Kingdom’s Chartering Trading Standards Institute, a professional association that supports and reinforces consumer protection efforts.

The prominent German weekly newspaper Die Zeit and La Monde, a leading French daily publication, partnered with The Guardian to conduct the probe. Investigative reporters and IT experts with all three news organizations reviewed a trove of data.

Investigators determined that over 800,000 people in the US and Europe appeared to have been tricked into sharing credit card information and other sensitive personal and financial information with a massive network of fake online marketplaces operating from China. At its height, the operation created roughly 76,000 of those phony websites.

The websites operated in multiple languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish. The sites’ operators created them to spoof online designer shops like Nike, Versace, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, and Dior.

Unsuspecting consumers turned over their financial information, thinking they were making legitimate purchases. Some reportedly even turned over their credit cards’ three-digit security codes, along with their home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and full names.

The cybercriminals created the network in 2015. Analysis conducted by the news organizations’ team of investigators and IT professionals revealed that not all online payments were successfully processed.

However, the scam artists are believed to have amassed as much as nearly $64 million collected from more than one million orders taken during the last three years. The report noted that most of the consumers they contacted confirmed they didn’t receive the items they ordered.

Copyright 2024,