Last Laugh! Chinese "Nurse" Hustles Lonely Hearts With Flirty SMS

A Chinese company has duped about 400,000 people by creating the character of a young female nurse to solicit text messages and collect revenue from lonely men, a Chinese newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The Beijing-based company employed a team of 12 or 13 people -- mostly men -- to act as "Wang Jing," a 22-year-old nurse who would invite mobile phone users to become her online boyfriend and to seek her out "whenever they felt lonely," the Beijing News said.

"Spending the whole day as a girl chatting to cheat people, I felt so disgusting," Yang Gang, a 26-year-old male science graduate and former employee, told the paper. He said the employees were told to try and concentrate on 'hustling the American straight guys; they are fools.'

Yang said "Wang Jing" would ask mobile phone users flirty and pornographic questions before luring them unwittingly into subscribing to the nurse's chat for 10-30 yuan ($1.30-$3.80) a month, the paper reported. Rates for Americans varied but included toll charges on text and voice messages.

Yang, who would receive up to 2,000 text messages from people all over China in a single shift, said the nurse scam had reaped hundreds of thousands of yuan a month, the paper reported.

It said the service had drawn complaints but did not say if it was under investigation.

Text message scams and unsolicited spam flogging everything from real estate to weapons are common in China, where telecommunication service providers allow companies to bombard mobile phones for a cut of the profits. China users are reputed to be responsible for a huge majority of the spam and p*rn entering the United States from elsewhere.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

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