• An emotional reunion between family members and their child who got kidnapped.

An emotional reunion between family members and their child who got kidnapped. (Photo : Xinhua News Agency)

Don’t be deceived.

Online posts narrating an incident about a child getting kidnapped or being reported missing may be untrue and can only be a trap to lure people into giving money, warned the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

Beijing police said that this is the modus operandi of swindlers aiming to make money out of people’s emotions. Swindlers fabricate stories and make them appear like true-to-life cases, and post them at different social networking sites.

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The posts usually begin with the word “Attention!” to grab readers instantly. Then it goes reporting a supposed real-life incident complete with all the right details such as time, place, descriptions and other pieces of information that will grant it the much needed authenticity.

Such fabricated online posts go as far as saying that the incident has already been reported to the police and that local authorities have started the investigation. Unsuspecting online readers can easily fall for such.

The post doesn’t end there. It even appeals to readers to repost what they have read for the sake of other readers.

Child trafficking in the country is “rampant,” reported Sina. From 2010-2014, almost 13,000 were caught engaging in it.

Overwhelming online petitions for death penalty punishment for child traffickers hit the Web last month. No wonder online posts concerning kidnapped or missing children quickly get shared or reposted.

Wu, a 26-year-old man guilty of such fictional posts, told the Beijing Youth Daily that he earned 200,000 yuan after a month of posting made-up stories in more than 80 social media accounts.

Imagine how many readers it reached and how many reposted Wu’s posts.

Wu’s earnings come from online advertising. The more hits his accounts receive, the more money he generates.

Netizens should be more vigilant when it comes to sharing online posts they only read from somewhere and not those published in official websites of news agencies.