There are many ways to start a business and make money on the Chinese super app WeChat. But some users have found a very simple way to make some fast cash without any skills at all: let others pay to use their WeChat accounts. With WeChat central to so many people’s lives, though, some people end up losing more than they gain. For some people, the monetary rewards can be quite enticing. Scammers and internet marketers offer as much as 1,000 yuan (US$143) a day to rent WeChat accounts, according to a recent report from the state-run media outlet Xinhua. Two vocational school students in Henan surnamed Li and Bi, for instance, started renting out their own WeChat accounts at 80 yuan (US$11.45) a day last October. At the same time, they were also renting out accounts belonging to friends and classmates, which they offered for 50 yuan (US$7.16) a day. The two students pocketed the difference and wound up making 10,000 yuan (US$1,431) in just a few months, Xinhua reported. Eventually, though, police took “criminal compulsory measures” against them. These measures could include arrest, detention, summons, bail pending trial or residential surveillance, according to China’s Criminal Law. The scammers who rented the accounts from the two students used them to join part-time job group chats and post loan scams, according to police. They also reportedly promised to only use the accounts on desktop computers so the owners could keep using them – WeChat accounts can only be logged into one mobile device at a time. So what did the two students do wrong? State media called the users accomplices to fraud. In an article in May , the WeChat Security Centre said the company has been cracking down on this behaviour to prevent users from “falling into the trap” of becoming accomplices to criminal activities. When asked about this user behaviour, WeChat owner Tencent directed us to the same article, which also states that the WeChat user agreement bans the renting or sale of accounts. The practice of renting out social media accounts isn’t unique to WeChat. It’s not even unique to China. There’s also a “rental economy” for Facebook accounts, according to a report from BuzzFeed News . This allows marketers banned from advertising on Facebook to use rented accounts for creating new pages and running ads. But on Facebook, the risks of users renting out their accounts might just involve a person’s privacy and digital security. WeChat users are often more invested in their accounts. WeChat Pay is one of the country’s two main mobile payment apps, so users renting out their accounts might wind up involved in bigger schemes. After getting access to a user’s account, some scammers try to borrow money from the person’s WeChat contacts or apply for loans through WeChat Pay, according to the WeChat Security article. It also says that some criminals have used rented WeChat accounts to launder money. Scammers and marketers used to rely on a large number of bot accounts, WeChat says, adding that this has become more difficult since the company boosted clampdown measures. So the solution now is simply stealing real identities.