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WeChat, which was released in 2011 by the Chinese internet company Tencent, is a social media app that helps forge connections among groups of people with similar interests, from consumerism to.
Firstly, let's understand the scale of WeChat. Tencent reported 697 million active users in 2015 Q4, a growth of 39% from the same period last year, if this growth continues at the same pace Wechat will have more than 1.1 billion active users by the end of 2016, makes it the largest of its kind on the planet.
- Commerce Department Identifies Prohibited WeChat, TikTok Transactions. September 24, 2020.This alert was originally published on September 18, 2020, and updated on September 24, 2020. UPDATE: On Saturday, September 19, 2020, the U.S. Commerce Department announced a one week delay of the prohibited transactions related to TikTok that were set to go into effect the following day, “ in light of recent positive developments” ( i.e., a proposed deal with Oracle and Walmart that may.
- Back in late 2019, it was announced that WeChat and Alipay would let people add foreign credit cards to use mobile payment in China. Considering how much easier it is to purchase goods and services using WeChat in China, this is a huge announcement for expats and travelers to China.
- Log in to WeChat for Windows/Mac on PC and confirm your login on mobile. Users are not allow to log in to WeChat for Windows/Mac without login on mobile.
- On August 6, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) targeting WeChat which would prohibit related transactions to be identified by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce (Secretary of Commerce) with effect from September 20, 2020. Authors: Denise Jong Leigh T. Hansson Dora Wang Inez Wong.
Who uses Wechat?
Above 85% of Wechat users in China are aged between 18-35 years old. This is the generation that used computer in schools, so: Technical savvies. Continue reading...
Gender Distribution in WeChat?
Sounds sexist, I'm not sure what's the reason behind that 64% of WeChat registered users in China are males.
Now the BIG QUESTION, How does fraud happen in WeChat?
1) Through your stolen mobile
The fraudster will use your Wechat account, link the account with his/her mobile number and email, then contact friends and family members asking for money pretending they are you.
2) The Changing Account - Fraud
Your friend will contact you one day saying this is his/her new Wechat account, their Wechat photo and albums will look relevant too.
The fraudster through knowing Wechat information of your contacts, used another Wechat account to match your friend's account and photos, then contact you later ask to ask for money.
3) Fake account - Fraud
Someone will suddenly add you from nowhere; they normally look elegant, rich and classy; have a decent conversation for days or weeks. After a while they will claim a cash problem, surgery, cancer and ask for money.... you know the rest.
4) Commission buying - Fraud
The fraudster will claim to be a seller of certain goods from overseas at a discount price or special offer, afterward, goods got caught by the customs and you need to pay the custom duty, otherwise both of you are in trouble, after you pay... hardly anyone receive the goods.
5) Trojans Fraud
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Some Wechat shops (Wechat accounts selling goods online) might send you a QR code to pay for a product, when scanning the QR code it will download a Trojan file (Virus) into your mobile that will steal your Wechat account name and password and send it to a third party who will control your account later.
6) Sign-up Fraud.
Some commercial online shops will ask you to give them a 'Like'. For sending a like your mobile number and other details will be required through a sign-up form. The Fraudster will use this as a protective skin to collect the maximum number of info, the online shop will suddenly disappear. Your mobile no, Wechat account and other personal info can be used in other frauds mentioned here.
7) Recruitment or Service Fraud
The fraudster will claim to be an employer or hitching a ride or a date, they will take you to a certain place then do: Robbery, rape, or let you pay the date excessive bill.
8) Public-Account look-alike Fraud:
The fraudster will register a Wechat account with a name similar to one public account, something like 'Social Welfare Query' , then start sending you updates regarding social Welfare, one day they ask you to make an urgent payment otherwise your social welfare will be degraded or expired...got it?
9) Conspiracy Fraud.
While searching for people around, you find a hot girl or a someone wants to learn your foreign language, they claim to be single, you go together for a date or you get caught in the bedroom by the police or husband (The Fraudster friend) and ask you for money. In lighter versions you exchange photos with the fraudster who later ask for money in return for not making you a nude star.
About WeChat Payment:
I saw many expats freaking out when Wechat asks them to link a bank card when joining a WeChat group, here's the deal:
WeChat supports payment and money transfer. WeChat Payment is competing with Alipay. As of March 2016, WeChat Payment has over 300 million users worldwide. To put this into perspective, Paypal, the largest online payment service outside China has 173 million users by the end of 2015.
So don't freak out when WeChat asks to link a bank card, this is their growth strategy and a way to ensure big groups don't have fake accounts. Any account that links a bank card means it's traceable. If you are paranoid like me, use a bank card with $1 balance or an old bank card. In some cases you need to go to the bank with your ID or passport to activate that service. There's no fraud related to linking a bank card in WeChat.
To avoid Wechat fraud :
Hide your album photos from strangers and public.
Don't trust strangers you add or add you and drag you into dates or car ride or payments..etc
Don't lose your mobile, make sure to link your Wechat to your email and mobile, this allows you to recover your account if lost.
Don't believe anyone asking for money in Wechat, even your relatives and family members, confirm their identity by a phone call or other ways.
Don't provide your telephone no and personal details to online platforms or strangers on WeChat.
No one can spend your money in Wechat without your password, so you know what to do.
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Use Wechat to scan the below QR code and join our Public Account for jobs in China for Expats and Returnees.
*This alert was originally published on September 18, 2020, and updated on September 24, 2020.
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UPDATE: On Saturday, September 19, 2020, the U.S. Commerce Department announced a one week delay of the prohibited transactions related to TikTok that were set to go into effect the following day, “[i]n light of recent positive developments” (i.e., a proposed deal with Oracle and Walmart that may resolve U.S. national security concerns). Those transactions are now prohibited beginning September 27, 2020, although the company has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to block the U.S. government from implementing the restrictions. Additionally, on September 19, a federal district court granted a preliminary injunction temporarily halting the prohibitions against WeChat after finding the plaintiffs, a group of U.S. WeChat users, had shown “serious questions going to the merits of the[ir] First Amendment claim.”
The U.S. Commerce Department (Commerce) today released its list of transactions involving WeChat and TikTok that will soon be prohibited under two Executive Orders that President Trump signed on August 6, 2020. The Executive Orders broadly prohibited U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with the parent companies of the two Chinese social media apps but left it to Commerce to identify within 45 days the specific types of transactions that would be subject to the new prohibitions.
In two Federal Register notices released today, Commerce clarified that the scope of prohibited transactions under the Executive Orders will be limited to business-to-business transactions related to information and communications technology (ICT) and services, which the notices define as any items or services that are “primarily intended to fulfill or enable the function of information or data processing, storage, retrieval, or communication by electronic means.” The list also includes several carve-outs for transactions by individual users and transactions occurring outside of the United States. Such carve-outs are responsive to concerns about the breadth of the Executive Orders and allegations raised in litigation brought to challenge them in federal court.
Beginning on September 20, 2020, the following transactions are prohibited:
- Any provision of services to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store or any online marketplace where mobile users in the United States can download or update applications for use on their mobile devices; and
- Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments to or from parties in the United States.
For example, U.S. app stores likely will be unable to offer any new downloads of the WeChat or TikTok apps in the United States starting on September 20, and users in the United States likely will be unable to receive any related updates/upgrades, including security patches, to the apps.
Additionally, the following transactions are prohibited as ofSeptember 20, 2020, for WeChat, and as of November 12, 2020, for TikTok:
- Any provision of Internet hosting services (e.g., file hosting, domain name server hosting, cloud hosting, virtual private server hosting) enabling the functioning or optimization of the WeChat or TikTok mobile application in the United States;
- Any provision of content delivery services enabling the functioning or optimization of these mobile applications in the United States;
- Any provision of directly contracted or arranged Internet transit or peering services enabling the functioning or optimization of the WeChat or TikTok mobile application within the United States; and
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- Any utilization of either mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the United States (e.g., use of the code underpinning the WeChat or TikTok application to release the same or a similar application under a different name).
Commerce also provided itself with some flexibility to identify other prohibited transactions related to WeChat or TikTok at a future date. As noted above, most of the restrictions on TikTok have been tolled until November 12, which is the deadline the President imposed for TikTok to divest itself of its U.S. assets and U.S. user data. If TikTok complies with the U.S. divestment order, the prohibitions highlighted above may be lifted.
Notably, the rules expressly limit the reach of the prohibitions above, as follows:
- The restrictions only apply to parties to business-to-business transactions.
- They do not apply to exchanges among users of personal or business information using the mobile applications, which, for WeChat, also includes transferring and receiving funds.
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- The prohibitions also do not apply to the payment of wages, salaries, or benefit packages to employees or contractors.
- Consistent with the territorial limits noted above, the restrictions do not apply to activities related to mobile applications intended for distribution, installation, or use outside of the United States and any ancillary activities (including those performed by a U.S. person) that are ordinarily incident to and necessary for, the distribution, installation, or use of the applications outside of the United States.
- Finally, the prohibitions do not reach storing WeChat or TikTok mobile application user data in the United States.
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Companies will have to evaluate whether their relationships with or use of the apps runs afoul of these prohibitions, as clarified by Commerce. Questions may include how the use of “constituent code” is integrated into apps or offerings.
Wiley is advising on these issues and continues to closely monitor the U.S. government’s efforts to address the growing political, economic, and military competition from China and the impact of such efforts on U.S. and non-U.S. companies. Should you have any questions on the Executive Orders and their implications, please do not hesitate to contact one of the attorneys listed on this alert.
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