Five students were arrested and sentenced to 15 to 30 months for using an app glitch to get unlimited KFC that amounted to losses totaling over $20,000 for the fast-food chain.
Technology has made life easier for us all, especially during the pandemic. We can use apps to buy groceries and have them at our doorsteps within a blink of an eye. Heck, technology has become so advance, we can even purchase a new car without having to step foot on the lot. However, with the advancement of technology, there’s always someone lurking in the shadows creating scams and loopholes to swindle innocent customers or businesses out of money.
Back In 2014, Ralph Lauren fell victim to an employee scam where a Twitter user by the name of Dallas Penn leaked an employee discount code online that allowed anyone to receive 65% off their entire order. Of course, an online shopping spree ensued for anyone who had the code. Luckily the brand honored the purchases before scrubbing social media clean of the egregious scam. However, things don’t always turn out that well for some tech swindlers.
A 23-year-old university student, identified as Xu, swindled KFC out of £6,500 worth of free food in just six months after he first discovered the loophole in its mobile application in 2018.
He then shared the secret with four of his friends and five of them together carried out fraud of worth £15,500 of chicken before they were busted by police Xu was jailed for two and a half years and fined £700 while his friends were jailed for period between 13 months and two years. He first discovered the glitch when he accidentally found out he can buy food using vouchers from KFC’s phone application but get a refund of the coupons by using WeChat app.
Ever since Xu started getting free food from KFC for himself and shared the scheme with his friends. He also started selling the food to his friends at cut-price to make profits without paying anything. The five of them were eventually busted and Xu pleaded guilty for using the glitch to get free chicken as well as sharing the information with his friends.
While there has been outrage over the harsh punishment on paper, the charges sound a lot worse than what actually happened. The court saw the students using this opportunity for free food as using criminal methods to manipulate data and commit fraud, which sounds way worse than getting free food from an app glitch. Due to where this occurred, it’s very unlikely it will be overturned, but this sends a clear message to anyone else who discovered a quick finesse on a corporate application.