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January 22, 2019

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Online coupon scam could cost Pinduoduo millions

Shanghai-based online discount site Pinduoduo has reported to police the alleged theft of tens of millions of yuan worth of digital vouchers by an online gang over the weekend.

QR codes have been obtained by a group of online scalpers and spread through social media, which allowed users to get 100-yuan (US$14.72) coupons without any restrictions. Police are investigating.

The coupons were originally limited to one per user, but the scalpers used virtual mobile phone numbers to obtain mass amounts.

The coupons were then quickly used by the scalpers to pay for Tencent’s virtual currency QQ Coin or phone bills.

“We will not step back on our efforts to fight against online gangsters that seek unlawful gains and we’ll file criminal lawsuits against the wrongdoers,” it said in an email statement yesterday.

The distributing of these unlawfully obtained coupons on late Saturday night coincides with an annual sales event on the platform and its internal supervisory system didn’t discover the irregularities till Sunday morning.

The loopholes have since been closed. Shanghai police have set up a special task force to investigate online fraudulent activities on Pinduoduo and has frozen transactions related to these coupons.

Pinduoduo also rejected rumors that losses could amount to 20 billion yuan, saying actual losses are estimated at less than 10 million yuan after some money was recovered and other orders by ordinary consumers were not affected.

Pinduoduo reiterated that the coupons were obtained through illegal means and should be counted as online fraud.




 

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