Scammer uses 4,600 phones to fake live stream, earns over $0.4 million in 4 months

Scammer uses 4,600 phones to fake live stream, earns over $0.4 million in 4 months

A Chinese man who organized the operation of 4,600 phones to artificially increase the number of live stream viewers, collecting US$415,000 in less than four months, has been sentenced to prison, the South China Morning Post reported.

His jailing marks the first time eastern China’s Zhejiang province – the hub of China’s live streaming industry – has punished anyone in the business for fraud.

The individual, identified as Wang, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined US$7,000, equivalent to 50,000 yuan, as revealed during the trial.

Wang started his operation in late 2022 when a friend told him about a “lucrative” practice known as “brushing”. The term refers to faking real-time activity such as viewer counts, likes, comments and shares in live streaming to simulate genuine audience interaction and confuse users and TikTok is the main source used to brush teeth.

The money bought 4,600 cell phones controlled by specialized cloud software. He also bought VPN services and network equipment, such as routers and switches, from a technology company based in Changsha in central China’s Hunan province.

With just a few clicks on his computer, Wang can control all the mobile phones to simultaneously flood the live streaming target to increase the number of viewers and interactions.

“The cost of using one of the cell phones is 6.65 yuan (less than US$1) per day,” Wang said. He also made a huge amount by selling live streaming services to companies and live streams.

Authorities in China have warned that loopholes in live streaming systems need to be closed.

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