Reports have surfaced of a Chinese hospital that was recently found to have copied the entire website of a top-rated provincial hospital and deceived customers into believing that it was the advertised institution.
On April 19, web staff at the Guangdong Provincial Dermatology Hospital, in southern China, found that a private competitor was stealing the identity of their own workplace.
“Our doctors have often had information plagiarized from their personal profiles, but this time we discovered that our entire site was cloned,” an office director at the genuine hospital told New Express Daily, a provincial newspaper.
In China, hospitals are ordered by ranks, with those of the third and highest grade having access to the best doctors and equipment. The real hospital belongs to this coveted third rank.
Results on popular Chinese search engine Baidu show the knock-off website, which has an even higher search ranking than the real hospital’s website. Every detail is the same, from the hospital’s introduction to information about individual staff.
Only the domain name is different. The fake hospital is the privately-run Fukang Skin Disease Hospital, and has nothing to do with the genuine A-ranked provincial hospital of the same name.
Staff from the real hospital called the imposter, asking if they were the Guangdong Provincial Dermatology Hospital. The other party immediately replied in the affirmative.
When the real staff asked for a specific expert, the responder lied, saying that the expert was not available to see patients that day.
“Let me recommend you another one,” staff at Fukang told the provincial hospital staff.
The fake website from Fukang was shut down soon after the call, but such online scams are common, says Wang Cheng, the office director at the provincial hospital.
Wang described how a 45-year-old woman who suffered from a chronic autoimmune skin disease was deceived by an online scam, and ended up seeing a dubious hospital. The 10,000-yuan ($1,500) treatment she paid for there only worsened her condition.