Hundreds fall for post-Tet online scams

By Luu Quy   February 2, 2023 | 02:00 am PT
Hundreds of people in Vietnam have fallen for a variety of online scams involving gifts and recruitment after the Tet holiday.

Dao Van Chieu, from the north-central province of Thanh Hoa, said that he received a call on Monday, his first day back in the city after a visit to his hometown for Tet.

"They offered me a job listening to music and liking songs on an online music site for VND10,000 (43 cents) per song," Chieu said.

Despite having previously read warnings about online tricksters, he still tried out the gig as a way to investigate and possibly warn other people of the scam.

"They actually paid me VND10,000," Chieu said, "then they tempted me to send in money for high commission. The online group they established had attracted nearly 4,000 members."

As soon as he joined the group, his phone began receiving a relentless flow of chat notifications. Every time someone completed a task, they would send a message to the group.

"Receiving hundreds of messages means hundreds of people believed in the system and had completed the tasks," Chieu said. "Among them, many might have been deceived."

A person holds a phone, showing a group chat with nearly 4,000 members, where Dao Van Chieu was added into to like songs to get money. Photo by VnExpress

A person holds a phone, showing a group chat with nearly 4,000 members, where Dao Van Chieu was added into to like songs to get money. Photo by VnExpress

Ngo Minh Hieu, founder of the Anti-Fraud Project, said that online fraud, asset theft and information theft showed no signs of decreasing during the Tet holiday.

In fact, as the holiday ended, the number of fraudulent domains actually increased.

From January 19 to January 27, the project detected 180 fraudulent pages, of which 166 were created to steal assets, and 15 were built to steal information. The number of recorded victims is in the hundreds, but actual numbers might be much higher, said Hieu.

He added that before Tet, fraud cases usually target people intending to become part-time workers to make extra money for the holidays. During and after Tet, scams often involve exploiting gift programs, job recruitment and loan services.

Over the past week, several Facebook users in Vietnam have received messages about a "Saigon Beer 2023 Tet Gift Program." Upon clicking the link, they see a notification stating that they've won millions of dong, but they are also asked to provide their personal information. The link then also automatically shares itself with their Facebook friends through messages.

The official fan page of Saigon Beer later issued a warning, stating that the "gift program" was a scam. However, hundreds of people had already been duped into clicking.

The Anti-Fraud Project reported that it has detected and blocked a number of domains using keywords like "tet" and "lixi" to entice people into entering personal information or bank account details.

Furthermore, in order to exploit people who need to borrow money after Tet, the number of con artists masquerading online as financial organizations has also been on the rise.

Scammers ask victims to access websites that use similar logos and designs as trusted banks or financial companies. After a few transactions, criminals then send fake documents to convince victims to transfer money to them.

"Many people transferred hundreds of millions of dong to the criminals," Hieu said.

"But no loan was given and the victims lost any money they sent."

On Sunday alone, the system recorded 15 such sites with a .vn domain name.

Hieu said that in the coming days, these forms of fraud will continue to multiply in Vietnam.

go to top