It’s not an overstatement when we say that it is not a good time to be a child and gamer in China right now. With the country’s Communist Party having limited the number of hours its under 18 population are allowed to indulge in their favourite video games to just three hours per week, it comes as no surprise that a great number of them would be getting desperate for more than the allotted quota. It should also come as no surprise that, in light of the growing desperation amongst children, criminals have seen an opportunity and are turning to fraud, in order to take advantage of and rob said children, all with the false promise of providing them extra game time. Provided that they are willing to pay, of course.
According to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the Chinese government body says that it had to deal with a 15-year-old victim, who fell prey to fraud and paid US$560 (~RM2495) to them, after they promised to help him circumvent the 3-hour weekly restriction.
The child says that they were playing a mobile game, when the suspect added him as a friend via WeChat, with the claims that they could bypass the restrictions. As a 15-year-old, the promise of being allowed to play more than the imposed time limit can easily seem like an offer that’s too good to refuse. So, just like that, the kid paid the fraudster using his parent’s mobile phone and to no one’s surprise, the confidence trickster wasn’t able to uphold their end of the bargain. All part of the fraud.
This is just one of 12000 cases of online fraud that the CAC had to deal with. In another case, a 12-year-old was duped into paying US$1500 (~RM6685) after online criminals falsely convinced them into thinking that they had committed an illegal act and that the amount paid would still be far less severe than a year in jail or a US$15000 (~RM66855), or both.
Then there is an incident of fraud with another 12-year-old who paid an undisclosed amount of money to a scammer for PC parts that never arrived. This, by the way, is one of the more common forms of fraud.
Regardless, this should serve as a message to us all: we should all stay vigilant and skeptical about any and all offers made by shady individuals, especially those that hide behind a digital veil and aim to deceive you with offers that are clearly too good to be true.