Scam Warning

IMG_1673WeChat, or Weixin, has cornered the Chinese market when it comes to social apps. With 600 million monthly active users, there is zero chance that scam artists and hackers aren’t working on new means to exploit the app’s popularity. Users should know of two incidents that have recently occurred in the region to protect against scams and malware.

Last month, Glenn Ball, general manager for an online shopping platform, received a disturbing call. When he answered the phone, his personal assistant asked if he had created a new account. He had not. But someone using his profile picture and nickname had sent messages starting around 10:30 that morning asking to contact their accountant. Evidently, this doppelganger was trying to make an “emergency deal” and needed money transferred immediately.

Luckily, the assistant didn’t fall for the ploy, but not everyone was so lucky. According to online reports, RMB 1.5 billion has been transferred due to similar scams. “We’ve Contacted WeChat, and they haven’t gotten back to me,” said Ball. “This morning we called the Guangzhou cyber police because apparently they do have a department for that.”

The Guangzhou police department warned him that such incidents have increased recently, so users should be aware. Another threat to be aware of are WeChat “Nukes.” These, often inconsequential, malware packages have the ability to freeze a smart device for a short while and hide in what look to be links or image files.