SHANGHAI: Private data is being ripped from the Internet and sold to unscrupulous marketers, police say.
The Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau has launched an investigation into the gathering and selling of illegally obtained information.
Phone numbers, home addresses, identity numbers, and details about property or car ownership are being sold, said Yang Ye, from the bureau.
"We have noticed the situation and are tracking the illegal trading," said Yang.
Information about 1.7 million Shanghai citizens, mostly homeowners, is being sold for 6,000 yuan, according to Shanghai Morning Post.
For example, a posting from a person on www.sh-info.com.cn advertised a list containing information about 760,000 homeowners at more than 100 residential complexes in Shanghai. The list cost 2,500 yuan.
The person who posted the advertisements also offered information lists about owners of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi vehicles, including names, license numbers, phone numbers and registration dates.
A man surnamed Zhang told Shanghai Morning Post that he had detailed information about people's bank accounts, and membership information at shops.
Calls to numbers left on the advertisements led to a recorded message, saying the phone was out of service.
Xu Jing, an administrative manager at a local French architect firm, said she receives calls from people selling memberships, financial products and English classes almost daily.
"I receive several SMS messages every day selling property, or even fake business invoices," she said.
"I was so mad one time because I received a phone call from someone selling English lessons when I was on a business trip to Europe. It cost me a lot of money just to pick up the phone."
Fang Jie, with the public security bureau, said the bureau is focusing on people who trade information for profit.
China still has no law regulating the selling of private information, said Wu Dong, a lawyer with M&A Law Firm.