Guangzhouers Scammed 90 Million RMB by Fraudulent QR Codes

By Matthew Bossons, March 7, 2017

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Guangzhouers have been scammed out of a confounding RMB90 million through the use of quick response codes, or QR codes, according to a China Daily report

Across China the square pixilated codes have become ubiquitous with convenience store purchases, product identification, mobile program admittance and, most recently, criminal activity. 

According to Southern Metropolis Daily, QR codes have become a popular cash scamming tool for two main reasons: 1) the technology is not as secure as it should be, and 2) it’s next to impossible to verify authentic codes by simply looking at them.

Enterprising individuals are reportedly placing their own QR codes over genuine ones, tricking unsuspecting people into transferring funds to criminal accounts.

To combat this issue, WeChat and Alipay, two of China’s most popular mobile payment platforms, have launched software to monitor and provide security to their users. Alipay uses a “website detection function” to identify compromised links and warn customers before they complete the transaction.  

This seems logical, but we’ll say it anyway: avoid scanning unknown QR codes! While you can probably trust the codes at established chains like 7/11 and Walmart, it’s worth noting that QR codes in public places (like the one on the shared bike you’ll ride home from work today) are sometimes pasted over by criminals – so exercise caution.

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