Using Loopholes To Illegally Earn LeCoins To Help Celebr

Taking advantage of exchange rate differences, official payment loopholes and malicious refunds to earn illegal profits

"48 yuan can buy 680 music coins." This is one of the things that a certain star's fan group must do every day. Music coins are a virtual currency in QQ Music that can be used to buy albums. The original price of 68 yuan for music coins may be only 48 yuan at online recharges. Therefore, buying and hoarding a large number of low-priced music coins through online recharges to help their stars top the charts has become a routine operation for various fan groups.

Recently, a large number of low-cost recharges forced Tencent to issue three announcements in a row to crack down on third-party recharges. Coincidentally, another popular mobile game in China, Fate/Grand Order, also experienced a recharge storm not long ago, and the operator had to ban a large number of problematic accounts.

In recent years, with the development of consumption of virtual goods and services, specialized online recharge merchants have emerged in the market, taking advantage of exchange rate differences, official payment loopholes and malicious refunds to illegally earn illegal profits, and even forming a complex and huge black industry chain. Under the intrusion of the black industry of recharge, many Internet companies are complaining, and some consumers have also suffered economic losses due to illegal recharge.

There are many ways to charge

Online recharge refers to third-party recharge institutions that are not officially authorized, such as recharge stores commonly seen on Taobao and recharge merchants in WeChat and QQ groups. In order to obtain high profits, they often use gray channels to obtain low prices, "stealing" profits from the original operators, causing huge economic losses to application operators.

Why are these recharges cheaper than official recharges? Sun Xiangxi, a senior recharge agent, revealed the secret: "Some recharges use regular white cards, which are actually purchased gift cards. This kind of recharge is generally not much cheaper than the official one. Other recharges take advantage of the exchange rate difference and official refunds, which are much cheaper. They are taking advantage of loopholes to get some wool. Some particularly low-priced recharges are done by stealing credit cards, forging electronic certificates, etc., which is suspected of being illegal."

It is understood that in the early years, the main means of profit for recharge agents was to take advantage of the exchange rate differences between currencies in different regions. Since the prices of goods in the app store are fixed and the currency exchange rates change frequently, the recharge agents would find regions with lower prices to profit from them.

Another common method used by the recharge industry is to exploit system and policy loopholes in the App Store, including the "36 technique", forged purchase receipts and malicious refunds. The "36 technique" is to take advantage of the unreviewed mechanism of small overseas credit card payments in the Apple Store; forged purchase receipts are to forge electronic certificates through technical means to repeatedly obtain virtual goods; and malicious refunds are attributed to the App Store's unconditional refund policy.

The scale of the industry is large and difficult to regulate

At present, online recharge has become a huge industry. According to a recharge agent on Taobao, it is very common for a single recharge to be tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of yuan. "Many large recharge agents have very high annual sales, far beyond imagination."

Judging from the previous reports of related domestic cases, the scale of the "industry" described by the above-mentioned recharge agents is not exaggerated. In May 2018, two suspects were arrested by the police in Xixi Town, Jieyang City, Guangdong Province for forging cache credentials and making multiple malicious recharges for illegal profit. The amount involved was more than 12 million yuan. In July 2018, the Chenghai Branch of the Shantou Public Security Bureau of Guangdong Province successfully smashed an online recharge gang that stole credit cards, involving more than 9 million yuan.

The amount involved in the case is often several million or even tens of millions of yuan, and the losses suffered by the relevant companies are obvious. Many Internet companies have continued to issue announcements and take measures such as blocking accounts to crack down on third-party illegal recharges. On the sales side of the recharge industry, trading platforms such as Taobao have also increased their crackdown and review efforts, or closed the "mobile game recharge" related product categories. Companies such as Apple and Google have also repeatedly patched payment loopholes and strengthened audits…

However, in response to relevant measures, the recharge gangs continue to develop new methods to avoid review and supervision. If Taobao closes down a store, the recharge agents will turn to Tieba and QQ groups; if the Apple Store strengthens the refund review, the recharge agents will buy Apple accounts with complete documents.

Difficulty in obtaining evidence due to various methods

So, how to crack down on online recharges? A Shanghai game operator told reporters that the industry is currently mainly focusing on post-event crackdowns and punishments, which is relatively passive and has not yet been able to effectively prevent and control illegal recharges.

It is understood that in recent years, online recharge has been repeatedly banned and there are more and more illegal cases, which has become a new challenge faced by the judicial community and Internet companies. "This behavior is difficult to curb, mainly because it is a new product and there is a lag in legal follow-up." Ding Dalong, a lawyer at Anhui Jin Yatai Criminal Defense Professional Firm, told reporters, "In actual operation, it is difficult to obtain evidence in such cases. First of all, in many cases, the victim company does not report to the police in time, and does not fully preserve data evidence after reporting to the police."

Different means of online recharge are used, and the legal characterization is also different. According to lawyer Ding Dalong, if the platform loopholes are exploited to forge virtual currency and then sold to consumers for profit, it is suspected of being illegal or even a crime. For recharge agents who take advantage of exchange rate differences, it is difficult to define whether such behavior is considered foreign exchange trading, and whether it is illegal or not depends on the specific circumstances.

(China Youth Daily)


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