Halifax Regional Police is warning citizens about a scam involving the social networking app WeChat.
The Financial Crime Unit of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division has received three complaints in the last several months from victims who have been defrauded by people they met online through WeChat, a mobile text and voice messaging communication service.
The scammers target victims by connecting with them on the WeChat app and then persuade them to purchase various gift cards or online shopping credits in exchange for promises to meet for sexual services. The scammers convince the victims to send them the gift cards’ pin numbers or codes and/or the online shopping credits. After the scammer receives the info, they cease communication and the victim is out the amount of money they used to purchase these items.
If you’ve been victimized, don’t let fear of embarrassment stop you from reporting an incident to police as secrecy works to the suspects’ benefit.
If you choose to date online, police remind citizens of the following security tips to reduce your risk of being victimized:
- Remember that whenever you contact or agree to meet someone online, you really don’t know who it is.
- Guard your identity: Remain anonymous until you feel comfortable disclosing more information.
- Never disclose personal information. Don’t provide your last name, address, workplace, phone number or any other identifying information when corresponding online.
- Never disclose credit card, banking information or any payment receipts that may have personal details such as PIN numbers.
- Don’t provide your address under the guise of receiving gifts or flowers.
If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, please contact the Financial Crime Unit at 902-490-1985.