No end to telecom scams in China

Xiaoshu asks for help on weibo after telecom scam. Photo: weibo

A girl from the city of Nanjing in East China's Jiangsu Province has asked for public help on China's Twitter-like Weibo after her father was cheated a huge amount of money.

Xiaoshu, a sophomore at a college in East China's Shandong Province, received a phone call from her father on June 12.

"'What about the 38,500-yuan tuition fees?' My father asked me," Xiaoshu said in an interview with a reporter of the Yangtse Evening Post newspaper.

"I was shocked by my father's question because I didn't ask him to pay my tuition fees that day," she added.

Xiaoshu went back home as soon as she hung up phone.

"My father received text messages from a person who pretended to be me," Xiaoshu told the reporter. "The man said I need 38,500 yuan to pay my tuition fees at Harvard. My father believed what he said and transferred the payment to his bank account."

"I'm really desperate because the money is for my tuition fees," Xiaoshu said, adding that she might have to drop school if the police fail to capture the scammers.

Xu Yuyu Photo: Baidu

Xiaoshu's case reminds us of Xu Yuyu's misfortune.

Xu, a college-bound student, died after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest after funds her family had raised for her tuition fees were swindled in a telephone scam.

The 18-year-old girl from the city of Linyi in Shandong Province scored 568 points on her college entrance examination in 2016 and was admitted to Nanjing University of Post and Telecommunications.

On August 19, 2016, Xu received a phone call from an unknown person notifying her that she was due to receive 2,600 yuan in student funding. She had received an official phone call from the education authority the day before, so her family did not question the authenticity of the second call.

Following the call, Xu wired a 9,900-yuan "activation fee" into the scammer's bank account, hoping the money would appear in her student account, but it never did.

After discovering they had been cheated, the family immediately reported the incident to the police, but Xu was said to be devastated. On their way home, she suddenly fainted and despite doctors' best efforts to revive her, she passed away.

According to reports, Xu was healthy.

Her family is poor and they depend solely on her father's income. They had to save for almost a year to raise funds for her tuition fees.

With admission season underway, the Ministry of Education as well as the police warned students and their parents to be vigilant and not fall for similar scams. 

China has seen an explosion in telecom scam cases in recent years. The authorities in Eastern China's Zhejiang province reported that they handled more than 100,000 cases of telecom fraud, resulting in a net loss of 1.5 billion yuan, last year - up 40 per cent from the previous year.

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