wechat logoRichmond: Messenger apps are a great way to share information and communicate with individuals or friends. WeChat is a popular platform and is one of the world’s most widely used chat apps.

Criminals are also using WeChat.

People conversing on WeChat have become victims of scams and extortion.

“The criminal element is evolving and quite frankly, the digital world is their oyster. Not too long ago, face to face communications were the norm. Now, with instant messaging and video chat so widely available, there are no guarantees that the person you believe you are having a conversation with even exists or is simply a Bot,” says Corporal Dennis Hwang. “We are discovering that the WeChat platform is the common conduit.”

“The use of iTunes cards as payment or currency is an emerging phenomenon. The creation of an iTunes account using a stolen or fraudulently obtained credit card is not particularly onerous. Once created, iTunes cards can be deposited or transferred to other accounts and used to purchase a plethora of merchandise which can then be resold for cash. Any demands for payment in the form of iTunes cards should be an automatic red flag. We recommend exercising a dose of healthy skepticism – it can make the difference in protecting yourself against being scammed or extorted. Even if you do not use WeChat, these tips can be useful universally with other messaging apps.”

The Richmond RCMP offers some useful safety tips:

  • be cautious about accepting communications using WeChat or other messaging platform, especially when a companionship website is involved
  • do not engage in the sharing of explicit photos
  • monetary demands using iTunes cards are highly suspicious
  • do not give into monetary demands. Do not make any payments.
  • contact your local police

If you have been a victim of this type of crime in Richmond, please contact the Richmond RCMP at 604-278-1212 or e-mail us at: Richmond_Tips@rcmp-grc.gc.ca