China steals credit card info in latest online scam

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More than 800,000 people in Europe and the US appear to have been duped into sharing card details and other sensitive personal data with a vast network of fake online designer shops apparently operated from China.

An international investigation by the Guardian, Die Zeit and Le Monde gives a rare inside look at the mechanics of what the UK’s Chartered Trading Standards Institute has described as one of the largest scams of its kind, with 76,000 fake websites created.

A trove of data examined by reporters and IT experts indicates the operation is highly organised, technically savvy – and ongoing.

Operating on an industrial scale, programmers have created tens of thousands of fake web shops offering discounted goods from Dior, Nike, Lacoste, Hugo Boss, Versace and Prada, as well as many other premium brands.

Published in multiple languages from English to German, French, Spanish, Swedish and Italian, the websites appear to have been set up to lure shoppers into parting with money and sensitive personal data.

However, the sites have no connection to the brands they claim to sell and in most cases consumers who spoke about their experience said they received no items.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!