A lot of people have been complaining about being scammed on WeChat lately, and the numbers are rising every day. Although WeChat (and Alipay) offers a number of security functions to protect users’ online funds and privacy, a majority of people seem to forget about those available functions, or perhaps don’t even bother familiarizing themselves about the existence of those security functions. Whatever the reason is, we’ve decided to list a couple of security measures you can take to protect yourself from online scams.

Use common sense.

If something is too good to be true, it probably is. Some of the ads on WeChat are even ridiculous and absolute utter rubbish. For example, take “invest in bitcoin” ads circulating in various WeChat groups. According to them, your 4000 RMB investment will bring 20 000 RMB in/after only 48 hours. That’s 500% return! It means that if I invest, I will be making 56 000 RMB in a week! Shall I just stop everything I’m doing and invest all my money in this “strategy”⸮ Well, apparently some people are taking this “investment” plan (or whatever that is) seriously, and it’s everywhere on WeChat! Seriously, if you want to invest, first thing you have to do is to educate yourself on topics like investing for beginners, basics of bitcoin, and etc. then after you’re confident, use official platforms / sources to invest, not WeChat – a social network platform.

Next type of ad you have to watch out is “Get your visas and certificates” kind of ads on social platforms like WeChat. This one is tricky. They might actually make you a visa / certificate. But the question is, will you be able to use those visas / certificates? or are they real? Before considering these dodgy services, think about the consequences! Their ads say you’ll be getting originals etc. That’s a red flag right there. Why? NO certificate can be obtained without you personally taking the exam / test and NO Chinese visa can be obtained without you personally submitting your documents to the visa office. Plus, if you’re caught working on a student visa (if that’s a real visa, not some sticker printed at home, and apparently without classes!) you’ll have to face the harsh consequences.

Next in the list is “Buy Original Apple products!” So there are still people who think original Apple products are sold on WeChat, not in Apple stores. This is “how to live in this world 101” people! if you want an Apple product, just go and buy one in their stores – available online and offline! You can easily locate their stores:

1. Choose your region:


then locate a store

2. locate a store: https://www.apple.com/retail/

I agree, if the devices are second-hand, then it’s a different story. I’m talking about the new ones here. Remember, famous brands’ products can be purchased from their online/offline stores and authorized sellers and distributors. Even if some people are reselling products from those famous brands online – on WeChat, at least make sure they have a legitimate business – website, business license, office / store etc. – before you place your order. Asking all these questions will reveal if they have a legit business or not.

So, please use a little common sense before you make a serious investment, buy a brand new iphone or get your IELTS/TOEFL/TESOL etc certs, or visas on WeChat. WeChat is NOT a place to get these things. Do your homework!

Beware of imposters.

Scammers always pretend to be someone you know and trust. Don’t just share your personal information, or send money just because “someone you know” is asking for it online. Always double check – call them and speak to them personally. Plus, all government departments have their official websites with phone numbers, charity organizations can be checked online too – if a charity is not transparent, then that’s not a good sign! and if it’s a fundraising for someone ill, you might want to visit the hospital and make sure that patient exists – don’t take me wrong, there are so many fake fundraising activities going on WeChat.


It’s very simple – if you want to apply for a visa, open a company, get your certs translated, notarized etc. through an agent / agency, don’t pay the fees on WeChat / Alipay, and do not give the copies of your passport and ID. Instead, visit their offices. If you personally cannot visit, then ask your friends to visit for your. If the agent/agency refuses, then that’s the end of the story. No legitimate company conducts business  only on WeChat.

Business License.

If you or your friend cannot visit the agent or agency’s office, ask for their business license.  Chinese company business licenses include a QR code:

You can simply scan the QR code and get full information about the company. If you’ve asked for their full names, you’ll be able to check this too:

When you scan the QR code on the business license, it should take you to 全国企业信用信息公示系统 (The National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System) website: http://www.gsxt.gov.cn/index.html

with full information about that company you’re checking – it’s business cope, company owner (s) etc.

If you want to check manually, without scanning the QR code, you can paste the company’s Chinese name (or unified social credit code/registration number) in the search box:

You can also use this website:


and an app


to get full information about any company in China.

This way you can be sure if the company you’re dealing with is legitimate or some fraudster.

Company/Enterprise Alipay

If you’ve used PayPal before, it offers a refund function in case your goods are not delivered or damaged etc. You can open a dispute on transactions too. Same on Alipay merchant – like PayPal, it’s connected to merchant’s website. After you’ve decided to pay on their website, the checkout should lead you to Alipay. It means the company is using a merchant account to get payments. So, if you’re not satisfied with the transaction – the goods were not delivered or damaged etc. You can open a dispute, and Alipay provides the necessary functions – we’ll write about this more later.

The point is, do not scan the QR codes shared on WeChat to make payments – pay only via merchant accounts.

Taobao/tmall.com, jd.com

I wouldn’t consider these websites for many products – especially for medicines and groceries, or some famous brand technology products, but for clothes and for the things that won’t do any harm to my health I’d consider taobao much safer than buying from WeChat vendors. Why? Like we mentioned above, taobao uses Alipay as a payment gateway. If anything goes wrong, you can get your money back. They won’t block you like many scammers do!


This goes to tech-illiterate, or the people who don’t have much experience with technology. To put it boldly, do not click on random links! Especially on WeChat, text messages and emails. Not safe at all – instead check the headline/title above the link, and baidu/bing search it if you’re in China, if outside then google!
These are only a few examples of how you can be safe online and avoid being scammed. We will be writing about online security more in our next articles. Stay tuned and be safe!
Remember, when in doubt, don’t click!

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