A major mainland Chinese delivery company issued a public statement on Nov. 17, admitting that five employees allegedly colluded with a group of criminals by giving them access to customers’ accounts and selling the stolen personal information on the black market. The incident has outraged Chinese netizens.
YTO Express Group Co., which offers express delivery and logistics services, stated in the announcement that at the end of July this year, its headquarters discovered irregular activities in two accounts of the company’s affiliated outlets in Hebei Province, according to Chinese media reports.
Mainland Chinese media said that the police in Handan city, Hebei, disclosed that they received a report from YTO Express in August this year. Upon investigation, the police found that five employees illegally rented out their accounts to a criminal group for a daily fee of 500 yuan ($75). This gave the criminals access to the accounts of over 400,000 customers, which allowed them to steal more than 13 million pieces of personal information such as the names, phone numbers, addresses of senders and recipients found on waybill documents.
The stolen data was sold in China via social media platforms such as WeChat and QQ, and to other countries in southeast Asia that have a high incidence of telecommunication fraud. The criminal group made a profit of 1.2 million yuan ($179,000) from the stolen data, according to Chinese news reports.
Only three suspects, surnamed Ma, Zhang, and Gao, have been detained, Chinese media reported. The others are still at large, and police suspect they could be hiding in Hebei, Henan, and Shandong provinces.
This incident caught the attention of Chinese netizens.
A netizen said, “I don’t know how many times personal information has been leaked. The so-called privacy protection is a joke.”
One wrote, “Does the individual still have privacy at all now?”
Another netizen said, “It’s too disgusting, those criminals should receive a harsh punishment!”