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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Beware ubiquitous traps for consumers

By Huang Xiangyang (China Daily)

14:11, March 22, 2012

It was a normal weekday afternoon, much like any other, and I was surfing the Net, when suddenly a pop-up appeared informing me it was my lucky day.

It seemed I had been selected - from millions of netizens - to win one of the prizes that, one of China's largest news portals, was offering to mark the three-year anniversary of its micro-blogging service.

You may think I got a little overexcited, but my heart beat faster and my mouth felt dry, at the thought of this unexpected blessing of wealth.

And apparently all I had to do to receive this blessing was enter a few personal details.

The prizes, though not astronomical in value, were decent: 68,000 yuan ($10,700) and a Lenovo laptop computer.

I would not include greed as part of my character, but who would spurn money at the doorstep? A few clicks seemed unlikely to cost me anything. And the information page, with its web address starting with "sina", looked authentic - at least to me - and the page had popped up from my micro blog account, which needs a username and password to access. So on I clicked, entering my name, phone number, home address and bank account, as directed by the prompt messages.

Admittedly, for a second my finger hesitated on the mouse, as a small voice in the back of mind cautioning me about the wisdom of divulging this personal information. But after a moment's consideration, I concluded the information I was providing was indispensable if the laptop was to be delivered to me, or the money transferred to my bank account. So on I went, motivated partly by the hope of becoming a little more well-off, partly by my curiosity to see how I could be ripped off if it was a hoax.

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Canada at 2012-03-2370.36.49.*
There is no end to the same type of thing in Canada either. One that has caught quite a few people is a phone call, email or letter pretending to be a relative or friend that is in trouble in some way - example: wallet stolen in another country, needs bail, return ticket home lost - and requests money be sent to them.

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