China shutters 89 fradulent sites

Web sites, using names of government organizations or charity groups, conned money from businesses or individuals through blackmail, identity thefts and ransoms.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Chinese authorities have closed 89 Web sites for assuming the names of government organizations or charity groups to conduct fradulent activities.

Many of the sites, shut down in a spate of closures at the start of March this year, claimed to serve anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies, China Daily reported Tuesday, citing a statement from the State Internet Information Office. The sites fabricated negative news stories and threatened to post them online if the targeted businesses or individuals did not pay "hush money", the statement noted.

Other cases saw counterfeit media licenses and journalist certificates on sale for "thousands of yuan" each, using the names of administrative organizations. Some even formed alliances to jointly demand ransoms from organizations, companies and individuals, the statement added.

In one of such cases revealed in March by the Ministry of Public Security, authorities shut down a fake police Web site and arrested four suspects behind the operation. The site, which called itself "China Internet Supervision and Investigation Authority", pledged to help consumers who had "fallen victim to online fraud" to recover their losses, but asked them to pay service fees or deposits.

The Chinese office vowed in the statement to continue to crack down on fradulent Web sites and ensure order of the Internet. In a bid to promote a healthy online environment, it had led several other government agencies, including the ministries of culture and public security, to open an awards scheme to honor 100 "civilized Web sites" nationwide.

The Chinese government has been taking active measures to curb cybercrimes. The Chinese city of Shanghai last month deployed a team of police officers to monitor all Shanghai-registered Web sites to protect against online crime. In February, it also shut down 7,846 Web sites believed to be involved in "illegal commercial activities" to crack down on the country's online back market.

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