Racked phones used as bots at the raided house in Aranyaprathet. (Screen capture from Channel 9 News)
Chinese click fraud gang using huge numbers of phones to boost page views & cheat advertisers in China, arrested on immigration charges.
FRAUD, ADVERTISING & THE WEB
Click fraud gang from China: Phone bots to boost page views
SA KAEO - Three Chinese nationals using phone bots to falsely boost page views on websites were arrested when police raided a rented house in Aranyaprathet district.
They were arrested on charges including working without work permits.
There were hunded of smartphones racked on metal frames and connected to computer monitors.
A search found thousands of unused SIM cards.
The police raid followed a tip-off that illegal migrants were living there.
The Chinese nationals Wang Dong, 33, and Niu Bang, 25, were detained when immigration police searched their house in tambon Ban Mai Nong Sai.
During the raid another Chinese man, Ni Wenjin, 32, walked in. He lived next door. A subsequent search of this house also found a large number of SIM cards.(continues below).
Large numbers of SIM cards are also seized. [photo by Thai News Agency]
CLICK FRAUD: HIRED TO INCREASE PAGE VIEWS OF PRODUCTS
Speaking through an Chinese interpreter, Mr Ni said they were not running a call-centre scam, as police initially suspected.
They had been hired to increase page views of products, and had been doing it for three months.
The hundreds of smartphones were used as bots to falsely increase readership numbers of the pages.
Racks of mobile phones used in click fraud.
CLICK FRAUD APPARENTLY LEGAL (UNLIKE CALL CENTRE FRAUD)
This is, in fact, is another kind of scam called "click fraud" that is apparently not illegal in Thailand since the Chinese were not charged with violating any Thai law related to click fraud.
Click fraud is the practice of hiring people to click thousands of times on a web page or web advertisement so that advertisers are deceived into thinking that a lot of people are visiting the page or viewing the advertisement, so that they will pay more for advertising on the page in the future (see here).
Pile of sim cards to use in click fraud (Source: Facebook).
USE OF THAILAND AS A BASE FOR CLICK FRAUD IN CHINA
There were a total of 500 phones arrayed on a rack using fake accounts on WeChat, China's largest messaging app. to boost both likes and page views for online advertisements in China.
The fraudsters used Thailand because in China only one phone can be linked to a single WeChat account, presumably to prevent click fraud (see here)
NO FRAUD CHARGES, BUT MANY OTHER CHARGES
The suspects were charged with overstaying their visas, working without work permits and using unregistered SIM cards.
They were then handed over to Aranyaprathet police.
The seized phones, mostly iPhones, would be examined to determine if they were smuggled or properly taxed, police said.
The suspects could face a charge of smuggling.
Click fraudsters after arrest (Source: Facebook)
Learn from listening
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advertisement (noun): advert; a short piece of video or words with pictures that makes people interesting in buying some product - การโฆษณา
advertiser : a company which makes an advertisement -
advertising : telling the public about a product or a service, political candidate, etc. in order to encourage people to buy, use or support it - การโฆษณา
apparently : based only on what you have heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly - ตามที่ได้รู้มา
arrest : (of the police or, in this case, soldiers) to take someone under control because they are believed to have committed a crime - จับกุม
boost : to increase - เพิ่ม
charge : an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime - ข้อกล่าวหา
connected : linked - เชื่อมต่อ เชื่อมโยง
deceive : to persuade someone that something false is the truth - หลอก
detained : kept in a place and not allowed to leave - กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง
district (noun): an area of a country, town or province, especially one that has particular features - เขต, อำเภอ, บริเวณ, แขวง
examine : to look at somebody/something closely, to see if there is anything wrong or to find the cause of a problem - ตรวจ
frame (noun): a structure that forms part of an object and gives it its strength and shape or holds something firmly in place - กรอบ
illegal : against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
immigration : dealing with people entering and leaving the country - การตรวจคนเข้าเมือง
initially : at first - ในเบื้องต้น
interpreter : someone who changes what someone else is saying into another language - ล่าม
metal : a type of solid mineral substance that is usually hard and shiny and that heat and electricity can travel through, for example tin, iron and gold - โลหะ
migrant : someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work (an immigrant is someone who comes to live in a country from another country) - ผู้อพยพ, คนงานต่างถิ่น
monitor : a television screen used to show particular kinds of information; a screen that shows information from a computer - เครื่องโทรทัศน์วงจรปิด, จอคอมพิวเตอร์
national : a citizen of a particular country - ประชาชน
overstay : stay in a country for longer than you are allowed to stay, not leaving when your visa to stay in the country ends -
page views : the count of how many people viewed a web page recoreded by computer software -
practice : a way of doing something - การปฏิบัติ
rack (noun): a piece of equipment, usually made of metal or wooden bars, that is used for holding things or for hanging things on - ชั้น
raid : to use force to enter a place suddenly in order to arrest people or search for something such as illegal weapons or drugs - บุกเข้าจับ, เข้าตรวจค้น
related to (verb): to be connected with something/somebody; to refer to something/somebody - เชื่อมโยงกับ
scam : a dishonest plan, especially for getting money - กลโกง, แผนร้าย
search (noun): looking somewhere or through something carefully in order to find something - การค้นหา
smuggle : to take things or people to or from a place secretly and often illegally - ลักลอบนำเข้า
subsequent : happening or coming after something else - ซึ่งตามมา
suspect : a person who is thought to have committed a crime - ผู้ต้องสงสัย
tip-off : secret information or a warning given by someone - ข่าวเตือน จากวงใน
unregistered : not having a license or the correct papers to do something - ไม่ได้ตีทะเบียน
violate : to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement - ฝ่าฝืน, ละเมิด
work permit (noun): the official permission for a foreigner to work in a country - ใบอนุญาตทำงาน