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Lam Min Lee
Tuesday, Jan 9, 2017
Some men in China thought they were dating young sexy ladies through their smartphones, but it all turned out to be a sham.
Last month, the police shut down mobile apps linked with 21 companies, arrested over 600 suspects and seized over 400 servers in 13 provinces across the country.
They are believed to be operated by a fraud ring, Guangdong police said in a statement on Monday (Jan 8).
Police investigations revealed that the dating apps were programmed to dupe users by automatically generating messages from women.
At least one company had created fake "sexy girl" accounts to target newly-registered users. These "women" then solicited gifts and encouraged the men to spend money on the app.
Other scams involved users who were lured to download mobile apps containing sexual content. However, the men realised they were unable to load and view the videos that they had paid for.
Hundreds of thousands of people fell victim to the scams and were conned of over 1 billion yuan (S$205 million), police said.
China is making its mark as one of the world's forerunners of artificial intelligence development, however, this incident demonstrates a case of tech gone wrong.