Phishing nets $4.9B yearly from Chinese consumers

Internet scams, particularly phishing sites, biggest obstacle to country's Web development as it deepens general mistrust of e-commerce among Chinese users, report states.

Internet scams such as phishing sites is the biggest obstacle to China's Internet growth, with online shoppers losing an estimated 30.8 billion yuan (US$4.9 billion) yearly to these online threats, according to a report.

Released Wednesday, the report noted that as of June 2012, about 31.8 percent of online shoppers on China have encountered phishing sites and some 61.69 million Internet users have been scammed.

The report was jointly published by three organizations promoting Web site authentication: China Electronic Commerce Association's Center for Promotion of Credible E-commerce; Union for the Promotion of Credible Web sites in China; and authentication management organization

It also found that more than 39.7 percent of Internet users who were scammed reported losses exceeding 500 yuan (US$79), while 33.4 percent of users lost between 500 yuan (US$79) and 2,000 yuan (US$317).

These losses have resulted in a general lack of trust among China's users, as seen by some 58.8 percent of Web companies reporting that less users are now visiting their portals, and even if they do, people are not buying things from them.

Another 30 percent of companies polled said they have been affected by copycat Web sites, it added.

The report also noted the Anti-Phishing Alliance of China had closed down a total of 89,790 phishing sites between the time it was set up in Jul. 18, 2008 to June 2012. In June alone, the organization shuttered 2,389 Web sites.

With these developments ongoing, the China Electronic Commerce Association said 87.5 percent of Internet users in China hoped to easily identify credible Web sites when browsing. Some 62.2 percent said sites with a "credible Web site" badge is more reliable than those without, it added.