Scammers in China are placing their quick response codes on top of the popular bike rental barcodes.
Mobike QR codes are now among the growing number of quick response codes that should be checked for imposters before being scanned. Scammers have been reportedly replacing the genuine bike rental barcodes with their own scannable code stickers.
When unsuspecting bike renters scan the QR codes, they end up paying into the scammer’s account.
Certain Mobike QR codes have been carefully replaced with a sticker over top of the legitimate barcode. When a customer scans the quick response code for the purpose of renting one of the Mobike bicycles, they may not realize that they have scanned the scammer’s code instead of the real one. When they are prompted to pay for the bicycle, the money is sent into the scammer’s account instead of into the Mobike service. This allows the scammer to quickly and easily steal money from unsuspecting bike renters.
The Mobike QR codes should therefore be carefully checked to make sure they haven’t been covered by a sticker.
The biggest problem with these fraudulent QR codes is that they are very challenging to identify. After all, they look just like the genuine quick response codes and when they are scanned, the process on the mobile device appears very similar as well. Since a barcode can’t be read without a device, customers have to take great care to check to see if there is an additional sticker overtop of the original Mobike barcode.
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Every time one of the bike renters is scammed, they lose about $43, as they pay into a scammer’s account and they are left without being able to access the bicycle.
According to certain reports, it is first-time users of the service who are most likely to be vulnerable to this scam. They are the ones who are least likely to know what to look for in a fraudulent sticker with a code covering the original barcode.
It isn’t yet clear how this problem might affect people who have been using the service for a while and who have already paid a deposit for a bike and whose fee should be covered for several bicycle uses. They are more likely to question the veracity of the Mobike QR codes if they are prompted to pay for the bicycle again, when they know they have already covered their ride.