Clever scammers are replacing Mobike QR codes and stealing funds

2 min read

Editor’s note: A version of this post by Kyle Mulln first appeared on the Beijinger, a leading source of English-language lifestyle information on the city of Beijing.

The next time you plan to hop on a Mobike, be sure to double check its QR code. That’s because unscrupulous schemers have gone to several of the popular shared bicycles and covered their scannable codes with deceptive stickers that allowing them to steal funds from unsuspecting users.

Now, before you go scoffing at anyone gullible enough to fall for such scam, take a look at how surprisingly authentic these stickers appear to be:

Yes, it seems these cheats have gone to great lengths to make the fake QR codes look legit. Chinese language media outlet Toutiao ran an article warning readers about the scam, adding that oblivious users were charged a deposit similar to what Mobike typically asks for, before going on to lose their RMB 299 entirely.

That means the ploy leaves first time users especially vulnerable. We’re not sure how the scheme might effect longtime users who have already paid a deposit – being asked for one again should certainly set off alarm bells. But if these shady pianzi are clever enough to make such convincing stickers and an authentic looking page to swipe a deposit, then we wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve found a way to snag money from all types of users.

The scam even has an authentic looking deposit page that its creators use to steal money from users.

If that skeezy scheme doesn’t have worried about your pocket book while riding shared bikes, then this probably will: officials have announced a new policy that will penalize shared bike users for parking poorly (according to 163.com). Riders who don’t park in designated spots will not be able to lock the bike again and get their fare, meaning they’ll still be charged for the time after they walk away if they leave the bike in an out-of-bounds spot. That’s especially true for anyone that does this:

Naughty bikers beware: You’ll understandably get penalized soon for doing anything like this

That means knuckleheads who leave their cycles like that will have to think up new subjects for their next ridiculous viral photo. One such designated parking spot has appeared for Mobike riders in Shi Jing Shan (according to QQ News).

Designated parking spots have been made for Mobike users in Shi Jing Shan.

These designated spots good are good news for the next person that uses the bike, and those of us who are adverse to clutter and general chaos and disorder.

Sights like this may soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new push to put shared bikes in designated spaces

However, even the most noble among us have been guilty of dropping our Mobikes off at spots that were convenient for us (aka two steps from our destination’s door) rather than a place that is more convenient for others. So even though we’ll all have to be more careful on shared cycles, at least if we keep all this in mind we can avoid losing money and (hopefully) encourage better biking behavior in Beijing.

Image credits: The Beijinger