According to police, six suspects were arrested in Shanghai on Tuesday for allegedly defrauding people using an Alipay function.
The victims lost money due to a connection between their own Alipay accounts and the suspects’ accounts via a function on the app.
A woman victim, surnamed Li, reported the fraud to police last month, and the investigation has since begun.
Li, who charges other online users money in exchange for playing computer games with them, was contacted by a man who allegedly turned out to be one of the scammers.
The man claimed that he was about to book a one-month service with Li that would cost thousands of yuan. He specifically requested that she be paid via AliPay, a popular third-party payment app owned by Alibaba Group.
Instead of a direct payment to Li’s account, he requested that she use the Alipay service, which allows one to pay for another person’s money transfer or other expenses from his or her own account.
The person persuaded Li to do the same for him by showing her a fake screenshot of his Alipay account (which appeared to have a lot of money, but in fact, the account he connected to Li’s through the function had no money at all), police said.
Soon after, Li lost 6,050 yuan (US$940) to the individual but received no money from him.
Following her police report and further investigation, the suspect and his gang were apprehended in Bozhou City, Anhui Province. In September, they were raided.
Since July, more than 20 people, including Li, have been scammed by the same suspects and have lost more than 100,000 yuan.
According to Qian Shiping, a Shanghai criminal police official, the police have asked Alipay to cooperate in this case and advised the company to take action against the possibility of fraud using the said function.