Cash has become obsolete in China. Mobile payments, which generated $98 billion last year, have transformed the daily lives of many in the country. Yet while apps such as Alipay or WeChat help make transactions efficient, they are also prone to security risks and can sometimes lead to crimes.
On July 27, a man surnamed Guo went to a local restaurant in Qinshui County, Jincheng City. The surveillance camera inside captured the moment when he was targeted by suspects. When he opened his QR code and got ready for payment at the cashier, one suspect behind him scanned the QR code and stole 999 yuan ($146) from him.
“When I looked at my phone, I saw that I had a 999 yuan transaction. Shortly afterward, I got a text message saying that I am being charged 999 yuan,” said Guo. Immediately, he sought help from the store manager, reviewed the surveillance footage, and identified the suspect, who was later arrested.
Wang Dan, a police officer in Qinshui County, Jincheng City, said that the suspect had downloaded an app on his phone called Qian Fang Hao Jin Shang Hu. This app allows a phone to function like a scanner and scan other people’s WeChat QR codes or Alipay QR codes to steal money.
The suspect also claimed that he had two accomplices who helped him distract the victim.
Wang reminded people to not open their QR code so quickly before making any payments. “Customers should cover their QR code to prevent other people from seeing it. And you should always pay attention to your surroundings,” said Wang.