Beware Illegal Pyramid Schemes on WeChat!


The relatively lesser-read Worker’s Daily points out an alarming issue on the WeChat-sphere in China as of late. If you’ve made any local friends in China on the IM service, you might have hit upon one or two of them (or more, if you’re unlucky) that — do little else than post, for example, beauty products from Korea, trying to sell them to you at a low price.

OK, if that sounds innocent — it gets “darker”: they then (even if you don’t talk to them!) post things about “joining them” to make money. Yours truly was always suspicious of “make money fast” schemes: things like MAKE MONEY CARVING TOOTHPICKS AT HOME!! were automatically filtered as they were giveaways of bogus schemes, or even — now that we’ve hit the nail on the head — pyramid schemes.

Pyramid schemes in China are illegal. Also known as chuanxiao (传销), those in the “biz” employ tactics to try to gain your attention or sympathy (or any kind of action at all, really — apart from ignoring them). The ultimate “reward” for them (they’ll say it’s for you, too) would be to “join them” — merely “buying their products” is only one step down the slippery road here.

So are you being followed by a pyramid scheme person on WeChat? If you can answer Yes to an alarming number of these questions — cut the connection or at least don’t buy!…

  • You are getting less posts about news or even what the person had for lunch — and more about luxury or beauty products.
  • These messages crop up at least once a day, often more than once.
  • (Provided you’re good at the Chinese language) Prices are incredibly “attractive”.
  • Messages saying “This is a perfect day!” is interposed with things about money and getting rich.
  • Posts contain pictures of “successful transactions” by other “purchasers” or “members”.
  • Posts contain images of the con artist picking up cash or getting a text message advising them that they’ve a new transaction to their credit on their bank account.

WeChat is here to help you talk to friends, not “money-driven commercial loudmouths”. Mute them, delete them, block them, or ignore them. Just remember: any kind of “encouragement” or a transaction (heaven forbid!) is precisely all that it will take — to drag you down this slippery slope which could involve your money going on a disappearing act!

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