China’s Army of Fake Online Shops Scam Hundreds of Thousands

( – Scammers in China are defrauding Americans of millions of dollars using a network of fake e-commerce sites. The scams have already amassed hundreds of thousands of victims in the US and abroad.

The vast network has scammed 800,000 Americans and Europeans through 22,500 illegitimate online storefronts. They lure shoppers in by advertising deep discounts on name-brand goods and apparel. They can also earn traffic by using their networks to build backlinks, a search engine optimization technique used to help websites show up on the first page of Google for related searches. Once victims attempt to finalize their purchases, the sites steal their credit card information.

These scammers are not content with just stealing money. They also pilfer personal information, including addresses, phone numbers, and emails. This treasure trove of data is more than enough to facilitate identity theft or be sold on the black market. Since 2015, they have managed to steal or attempt to steal a staggering $54 million, leaving countless individuals vulnerable and at risk.

The elicit players behind China’s vast online networks also monitor expired domain names closely so that they can set up new websites that appear to be legitimate old sites. That helps improve their credibility as they seek new victims. They may even scan the web for email addresses that were previously associated with the sites and recreate them. So far, they are believed to own nearly 3 million domain names.

Given the nature of these scams, it is crucial that shoppers exercise caution. Experts strongly advise against using unknown sites and retailers, even if they appear to have legitimate ads and social media accounts. This simple precaution can go a long way in protecting your financial and personal information.

The news comes as legitimate Chinese sites, including Wish and Temu, continue to gain mainstream appeal. Temu has already outpaced eBay’s rate of repeat buyers, and Amazon executives have expressed concerns that it might be next. Temu gained appeal after offering low prices by shipping products directly from China. Consumers wait longer for their products to arrive, but typically pay much less.

It also comes as tensions continue to rise between the US and China. Western nations have responded to cheap exports with a slew of new tariffs and other barriers. However, its exports have continued to outpace expectations even as Chinese consumption continues to decline. That has led to a rare case of deflation in the communist nation.

Copyright 2024,