The Shanghai Anti-Cult Association sent a mass text message Thursday to dispel a rumor that the world is going to end Friday, local media reported.
The message reminded residents to be wary of cults spreading the rumor that the apocalypse will occur on December 21, 2012, according to a report in the Oriental Morning Post Thursday.
The association said that cults are trying to trick people into joining so they can be scammed out of their savings.
Some have said that December 21, 2012, marks the end of the Mayan calendar, but that doesn't mean the world will end on that day, said Bian Yulin, one of the directors of the association.
Bian told the Oriental Morning Post that Friday will turn out to be an ordinary Winter Solstice.
It is not the first time cults have made use of the apocalypse to attract followers, said Cheng Junyi, the association's secretary-general. It also happened when the new millennium turned.
"Almost all of the cults at the time claimed that the end of the world was coming and no one would escape it unless they followed the cults' beliefs. They then took their followers' money," Cheng told the Global Times.
Thursday's text message also reminded citizens to be wary of a cult called Almighty Goddess. "The Almighty Goddess cult is doing the same thing," Cheng said.
Over 400 members of "Almighty Goddess" cult in nine provinces were arrested for encouraging people to donate all of their belongings to a cult leader, the Legal Daily reported.