A woman in China mistakenly posted the quick response barcode online, letting others place orders.
A woman living in China was understandably shocked, when she received a bill for about US$60,300 (430,000 Chinese yuan), after having accidentally shared the ordering QR code online, giving others the ability to place food orders on her tab.
The woman was posting pictures on WeChat and mistakenly included the table’s ordering barcode.
Though the woman’s intention was only to share pictures of the food she had ordered at the hotspot restaurant when she and a friend dined there on November 23, 2023, she inadvertently included the table’s ordering QR code in some of the posts. Even though her posts were visible only to her contacts, the barcode was scanned many times and fake orders were placed. This quickly racked up a massive $60,300 bill for 9,990 portions of shrimp paste, 2,580 portions of squid, and 1,850 portions of fresh duck blood.
The woman quickly took the post down, but individuals who had already scanned the barcode continued to place orders against the bill for her table. She believed that someone had saved the photo before she deleted it so that they could continue scanning and billing her for the orders.
The restaurant didn’t make the woman pay for the fraudulent orders made on the QR code.
Though the restaurant didn’t require the woman to pay for the orders beyond what she had made, they instead moved her to a different table that was assigned a different quick response barcode. That said, the restaurant was also unable to provide any assistance in tracking down those responsible for making the persistent fake orders.
The woman considered herself lucky that the restaurant was understanding and said in a local news publication that she felt the incident taught her a valuable lesson. She also encouraged other people to be more careful than she was when sharing pictures online, even when visibility is limited to one’s own contact list.
This also serves as a reminder to people sharing pictures including a QR code for other purposes, as they can be used for a spectrum of applications, not just for ordering food.