Zhejiang’s Provincial Bureau of Industry and Commerce (ZBIC) issued a letter of recommendation to Tencent late last month in response to a number of incidents of WeChat Pay users being defrauded by individuals pretending to their WeChat friends. Tencent responded to the letter at the beginning of August, with the matter being made public yesterday (August 13).

The Zhejiang Consumer Protection Committee said it had received complaints of fraudsters copying the WeChat profile picture and name of an individual’s friend, then asking to borrow money, according to local media.  When asked to repay the loan, the lender was blocked by the scammer. Individuals affected said they were not helped by Tencent, with the company saying that it could not give out user information for privacy reasons.

“WeChat is no longer a purely social platform. As a financial platform operator, WeChat Pay should balance the relationship between customer privacy protection and property security,” a spokesperson for ZBIC is quoted as saying.

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Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based technology reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.