WeChat, the popular Chinese messaging app, has long been a target of the FBI, as the FBI is increasingly using the app to help its agents track down criminals and track down international criminals.
But the recent revelations of how the FBI was using the WeChat WeChat Read account to steal money and credit cards from hundreds of accounts in China and the United States have put the FBI in a quandary.
The FBI says the accounts used to siphon off the funds were in fact owned by the Chinese government.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, the Wechat Read account has been used to steal $5 billion dollars from foreign accounts.
The WeChat account has also been used by the FBI to illegally access credit cards in the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, according to the FBI.
“In addition to stealing credit card numbers, we were able to use the account to commit fraud in the US,” said FBI Special Agent James Krawczynski in the affidavit.
“The account also allowed us to conduct a wide range of financial frauds, such as issuing fraudulent credit cards and issuing fraudulent checks, and then transferring the fraudulent money to the accounts controlled by the criminals.”
“This was done through the Weibo account, an online service that allows people to communicate directly with each other, allowing us to use a real-time public ledger to track transactions, track fraud, and obtain records of all fraudulent transactions.
This information is stored in an encrypted database in China that is inaccessible to US law enforcement,” he added.
In response to the allegations, WeChat said in a statement: “We have never knowingly used WeChat to steal or misuse user accounts, and our use of the We chat service is strictly prohibited.”
The FBI is reportedly working to obtain more information about the accounts and the identities of those who used the accounts.