Investigation Exposes Vast Chinese Cyber Crime Network

( – An investigation has revealed that over 800,000 people in the United States and Europe have been scammed by a vast Chinese cybercrime network running fake online shops.

The scammers run over 22,500 fake online shops, getting people’s card information, names, addresses, and other sensitive information by claiming to offer discounted items from retailers such as Nike, Versace, Dior, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, and Prada, according to an international investigation by Die Zeit, The Guardian, and Le Monde.

The scammers use two methods to steal money from people. The first method that scammers use is one where people put their card information into a fake payment site, but the card is not charged, allowing the scammers to access and store the card information to be sold or used later. The second method is when the scammers set up fake online shops and actually charge the cards, taking people’s money. The fake online shops were not designed to sell counterfeit goods, therefore most customers received nothing.

The network, which reportedly has a database of 2.7 million expired domains, can avoid detection by brand owners and websites by using expired domains to host the fake online shops.

According to the investigation, more than 800,000 people in the United States and Europe have provided the scammers with their email addresses, and 476,000 people provided the scammers with all the information for their debit or credit cards.

Since the first fake shops run by this network were established in 2015, the scammers have attempted to steal $54.2 million from consumers.

Consumers can take steps to protect themselves from scams. They should regularly check their credit card accounts and turn on spending alerts for their cards to help quickly detect fraud. Consumers should be cautious when shopping online by shopping only on well-known websites and checking a website’s URL and security credentials. Consumers should also use unique passwords for their online accounts and, when possible, enable two-factor authentication.

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