Chinese recruitment sites under fire for scams
Li Wenxing (left) and his classmate Photo: image.baidu.com
 
Scammers have cheated thousands of job seekers out of nearly a hundred million yuan in recent years on 58.com, China’s largest classifieds site, reported thepaper.cn, a Shanghai-based news portal.

“There are 60 fraud cases built on the fake recruitment information provided by platforms of 58.com and Ganji.com (which 58.com had acquired in 2015) in the past several years. 
Over 5,500 people fell victim to false recruitment ads publicized by 248 accused persons, with the total amount of money involved amounting to nearly 100 million yuan,” thepaper.cn cited data from the China Judgements Online, an official website run by the country’s Supreme People’s Court.

Some victims in the cases were reportedly entrapped by forced prostitution and pyramid scam gangs. It is believed that compared with the actual losses caused by the scams on various job-seeking sites in China, the cases revealed may be just a “tip of an iceberg”.


Last year, the death of Li Wenxing, a college graduate who was victimized by the fake recruitment ad of a pyramid scheme gang on the platform of Boss Zhipin, one of the major recruitment websites in the country, made to national headlines, sparking widespread concerns over the platforms’ capability to verify information.

Li, who’s from a rural Chinese family and graduated from one of the top-ranking universities, was persuaded to move to Tianjin, a port city neighboring Beijing, by the illegal organization which posed as a real and well-established software company that’s actually a customer of Boss Zhipin.

Li was finally found to be drowned in a pond on the outskirts of Tianjin. Boss Zhipin boasts more than 10 million users and is known to have investments from Shunwei Capital, backed by Xiaomi founder Lei Jun, as well as from prominent venture capitalist Kathy Xu’s Capital Today, reported Reuters.


Boss Zhipin later admitted there was a loophole in its verification system for ads. The popular recruitment site explained that under the system, if a user posted a recruitment ad for just one position, no verification of his message would be done.

“It’s a big problem that (we) failed to update the system. It’s our mistake which had brought a painful loss,” the embattled platform said in a statement, vowing to overhaul its authentication procedures while upgrading it with ID verification and face recognition technology.


The China Daily previously reported that recruitment websites have become a major channel for graduates to find jobs in the country. It cited a 2016 report published by Zhaopin.com, a leading recruitment website, indicating about 60 percent of 2016 university graduates use recruitment sites, more than double the number who choose campus recruitment channels.

Chinese regulations make it clear that network operators shoulder “primary responsibility” in ensuring information on the platform is legitimate. China’s Network Security Law specifies online information services are held responsible for preventing the spread of illegal information and reporting the case to relevant regulators.

58.com responded to the report of thepaper.cn rapidly, vowing to work closely with public security authorities to crack down on “network-based illicit industries”. Liu Deliang, a law professor at Beijing Normal University said in a previous interview with the Beijing News, “It’s not a loophole in technology but in management of the recruitment websites where unverified information was released.”

As early as in 2016, the Cyberspace Administration of China had launched a campaign targeting illegal activities involving recruitment websites, including fraud and fake job offers given by pyramid schemes. The administration was reported by Chinese media to have shut down 16 recruitment websites in the campaign.

 


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