China Wants Your Money, Avoid These InternetScams
June 1st, 2021 | AR
China is a global threat beyond what many can currently comprehend. When it's too late, they will finally strike. China has hacked several top level institutions across several countries and sent countless billions in money to operatives and assets in free, democratic countries around the world. Using their money to buy influence among journalists, politicians and corporations, China is using propaganda to turn the tides of global power. Not all of the money used to fund their tactics come from China alone. Yearly, China robs ordinary citizens around the globe using fraudulent methods that seem ordinary. We are aware of the most obvious schemes to funnel money out of Western coffers, but there is a more covert and insidious method China is using to siphon money from ordinary Canadians and Westerners.
Beware, online shoppers. China wants your money to help fund its nefarious agenda.
Everything from knock-off handbags, designer watches and sunglasses are being used by companies connected to Chinese intelligence to rob shoppers by selling them counterfeit merchandise, or by outright taking their money and not delivering a product. These companies will buy web domains, advertise on Google and Facebook, and set up legitimate merchant accounts with the top credit card companies. They will spend a few months taking in millions of dollars, before vanishing into thin air and leaving defrauded customers and credit card companies with the bill.
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Before any of the credit card companies or social media companies can stop them, they are able to get away with millions in Canadian, US and European dollars. All of it going directly to the Chinese government and Chinese intelligence.
In many cases, some of these Chinese merchants will provide a product, but one that is poorly manufactured and produced from cheap, easily acquired materials. As an example, unique and stylish sunglasses made from cheap plastic and lenses that don't protect from UV rays are sold for anywhere between $50 to $75 USD from websites like Banned 1976 sunglasses. In some cases, customers don't receive one of these poorly made pairs of sunglasses for six months or more after being charged. According to some reviews, some people have never received a product after ordering from these websites.
Some websites like these also appear at the top of Google's rankings when someone searches for sunglasses or designed watches, while some even appear on some people's Facebook timelines.
When the domains for these websites are searched in a WHOIS database, they either have addresses in China or are secured under a privacy lock, which prevents an owner's information or location data to be published. Since the United States relinquished its control over the regulation and moderation of internet domains to the United Nations, many of these domains and their owners will never be prosecuted or held accountable. However, some of the domains, which have been purchased through American or Canadian domain providers, can be reported.
According to reports from CSIS, the CIA, the FBI, Interpol and other international police and intelligence forces, China has been operating several schemes to siphon money from Western purses and to fund international propaganda and intelligence operations. None of these allegations are new to our global intelligence community, or to readers of Poletical.
There are several steps we can all take to prevent getting defrauded, ripped off and scammed by companies operating under the control or direction of Chinese intelligence. These fake companies and shell companies can be easily identified, reported and taken care of when we know what to look for.
If you are on the hunt for designer accessories and merchandise, keep an eye out for obscure and unfamiliar companies and websites, even ones that appear at the top of Google or on your Facebook timeline. Google and Facebook have questionable screening practices for advertisers and they can often be duped by big money and Chinese influence. Many of these sites are well put together and professional—and they will offer legitimate payment options through Paypal and various credit card portals.
This is what you can do to prevent being defrauded and how you can respond when you think you've been duped by one of these Chinese websites.
Research The Domain Name
You can run a quick WHOIS search here at any time before making a purchase. Particularly, if you've found a product you are interested in at a website with a domain that ends in anything other than COM, NET or ORG, it is ideal to do your research before giving anyone your credit card information. Even with an ordinary domain name, it is best to know who your merchant is before paying for anything.
Anyone can buy a domain name. Just because a website looks legitimate, does not mean that it is.
If the domain is listed as private or you see “contact privacy” instead of a name or address in a WHOIS search, turn the other way. Even worse, if you see an address or contact in China, run!
"All of it [is] going directly to the Chinese government and Chinese intelligence."
If it's too late and you have made the purchase, you can use the WHOIS data to find a contact email for the domain provider, which is often an email address with the word “abuse” in it. If the provider is also Chinese, you're probably out of luck, but if the provider is anywhere outside of China, you should send an email and report the domain for fraudulent activity.
Report It To Google And Facebook
If you were directed to one of these suspicious sites by Facebook or Google, copy the link and report it to one of the companies, or both. If you have made a purchase and have not received a product, or received a poor quality piece of trash, let one of the companies that directed you to the product know immediately.
If you can search for the website on Google, do so and then scroll to the very bottom of the search page and click “Send Feedback”. It will ask you to take a screenshot of the results, or of the website (optional). Go ahead and let them know what happened.
You can do the same with the page of the suspicious website at Facebook.
Dispute The Credit Card Charge
If you've been defrauded or not received a product you ordered months ago, call your credit card provider. Allow at least 15 to 30 days before reporting the transaction, as most companies will require a certain window to contact the company and to try to have your order fulfilled. The company will need proof that you attempted to contact the company before attempting to dispute the charge. Keep records of the emails and the phone numbers you called to contact the company. If you speak to someone at the suspicious company, get their name and record the time and date and what they said.
The credit card company may immediately refund the money but put a hold on it until they have fully investigated your claim. Don't be afraid to file a dispute, as it is within your legal rights to do so—especially if you don't receive what you paid for.
In a case where a Chinese company has vanished, the credit card company would be forced to eat the charge and cancel the merchant's contract and its authority to continue transacting. However, none of this happens unless you file a dispute. Even if you were only robbed a small amount, don't let them get away with it.
Always do your research before sending anyone your money. China has been operating schemes like this since the creation of the internet, but has largely gotten away with it. Spread awareness and inform your friends to do their research and to keep their money out of China's coffers.
And remember, never take your frustrations out on Chinese Canadians. Many of them have come to this country to escape the abuses of their native country and to seek a better future. Never hold Chinese Canadians responsible for what the communist regime of China has done.
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