The Chinese WeChat is the second most popular messaging application and currently being targeted by cybercriminals and scam artists. NYPD have received an increase of reported Con-games after the victims used the popular Chinese APP WeChat.
In each case the victim communicates with a person he or she meets on the WeChat APP and believes that the person on the other side of the chat wants to be friends, they get you to share your personal information with them. They will try to set up dates and agree to meet you at a set location. In some cases the con-artist will ask the victim to send them explicit photos of themselves and when they do the con-artist will send them a message or call them threatening to expose them on the internet, report them to their school and or some cases threaten to harm them or their family if they don’t wire them money, gift cards, etc.
Whether it’s WeChat or any other chat APP / social network. Social networking means opening up and sharing information online with others, but there’s some information you should never share online. Protecting yourself from sharing too much information can save you from identity theft and even protect your physical safety.
So let’s start with the obvious … never share your social security number (including even just the last 4 digits), your birth date, home address or home phone number. Of course, you should protect all of your passwords, PIN numbers, bank account and credit card information.
If someone threatens you in any form:
- STOP all communication right away.
- Do not respond.
- Go to your settings and block any messages from that person or number.
- Threats or unwanted information by the perpetrator is meant to put fear in you and torment you to give into their threats or demands.
- Do not send any money, gift cards or give out your bank account information or agree to meet anyone.
- Do not delete any messages from this person, the Police will need it to investigate and prosecute the perpetrator.
- Report it to right Away to NYLS Security at 212-431-2123 and the Police by calling 911.
WeChat users BEWARE of WeChat’s distinctive location-based services which can be very dangerous if used in the wrong hands.
WeChat’s “Look Around” add on, for example, allows you to see a list of other WeChat nearby users so that you can ask them to become your WeChat friends. The list of people is arranged from nearest to furthest and even details how close each of these WeChat users is to you. This naturally makes it easy for someone to stalk another person.
Another feature, “Shake,” also allows people nearby to identify your exact location, as long as you shake your mobile phone at the same time they do.
While these features are not automatically turned on, and require the user to activate them by default, careless users may forget to turn the feature off once they’ve used it.