Two teen boys from northern Vietnam received one- and two-year imprisonment Wednesday for stealing money in a fraud that used fake telecom promotions to cheat phone users.
Pham Quang Hieu, 17, and Ngo Xuan Long, 16, were convicted of swindling phone users out of US$10,600 between Sep. 2014 and Feb. 2015, when they were arrested.
Hieu was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. Long, who was recruited and trained by Hieu, get a one-year sentence.
According to the indictment, Hieu set up a website in Sep. 2014, in which he claimed to have inside information about exclusive promotions for prepaid phone users of Viettel, a popular mobile network company.
The promotions would give users up to 10 times the value of the scratch card they paid for, he boasted.
He bought hacked Facebook accounts and used them to spread the information, as well as phone screen captures of allegedly satisfied customers.
Victims were told to text a series of digits, including the card code, to certain numbers. Many victims fell for the trick, but instead of getting the big bonuses, they lost their money to Hieu’s various bank accounts.
He said he earned nearly VND152 million ($7,000).
He later recruited Long, a friend from his hometown Hai Phong, and together they earned another $3,600.