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China orders multi-department hunt for telecom fraudsters

Updated: Sep 24,2016 10:42 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — A multi-department circular on fighting telecom and internet fraud was issued on Sept 23, tightening preventive measures.

The circular, issued by the Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the People’s Bank of China, and the China Banking Regulatory Commission, makes it obligatory for telephone accounts to be registered using real identity information.

All telecom service providers must ensure that 100 percent of the country’s telephone accounts are registered under real identities by the end of this year, and suspend those without real identity registration, it said.

In the banking sector, the circular prolongs the period needed for money to be transferred from one account holder to another via Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) to 24 hours. The new measure will go into effect on Dec 1.

In telecom fraud, swindlers often trick victims into transferring money to their accounts via ATMs. In some cases, money in transfer can be frozen if victims call the police in time.

The circular also vowed to get tough on leaks and trade of personal information. It orders law enforcers to delete, monitor and block Trojan horse and other malware and personal information disseminated online.

Websites or internet accounts found to be at fault will be shut down, and perpetrators may be subject to criminal penalties.

The circular also called for measures to stop distribution of software that alters caller ID displays, often used in telecom scams, and urged timely interception of calls made using such software.

Police should launch an offensive against scammers and “destroy a number of criminal groups,” as well as coordinate with courts and procuratorates to rein in the spread of telecom and internet fraud, the circular said.

It also urged scammers to turn themselves in by Oct 31, and promised severe punishment for those who do not.

Addressing an interdepartmental conference on telecom scams and cyber fraud on Sept 23, State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun demanded better investigations, faster creation of anti-fraud centers, and improved legislation.

Guo asked related agencies to recover the stolen money and minimize losses by victims.

Officials will be punished if their failure to do their duty leads to a prevalence of such crimes in their jurisdictions, Guo said.

The government decided at a conference on Sept 23 to launch a year-long campaign against infringement of citizen’s personal information.