Roommates Steal $1,800 From Man By Unlocking His Phone Using Facial Recognition

A Chinese man had his savings stolen by sneaky thieves who used the facial recognition technology on his phone to unlock it while he was sleeping.

The man, only identified as Yuan from Zhejiang province, China was taking a nap when the thieves used his phone’s facial recognition system to unlock his phone. After waking up, he was shocked to find out that all of his money, 12,000 yuan ($1,800), was missing.

He contacted the police on Tuesday to report the crime, and later found out that his two roommates were the perpetrators, having unlocked Yuan’s phone and transferred his money to their account via WeChat Pay, according to South China Morning Post.

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While it is unclear what the phone’s brand is, an unnamed officer indicated in the report that it cost 1,000 yuan ($148).

It seems the facial recognition feature on Yuan’s phone isn’t very reliable,” the officer said. “We conducted our own tests and found you could unlock it even with the eyes closed.”

Luckily, authorities were able to retrieve the money and returned it to Yuan’s account.

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China is now leading the way in high-tech surveillance systems by incorporating facial recognition technology powered by artificial intelligence into their cameras. They are mostly used to aid authorities in capturing criminals – even if said criminals have their backs turned or their faces covered.

But this recent report is not the first incident to shine a spotlight on the flaws of facial recognition technology. In late 2018, an alleged “jaywalker” was caught on China’s advanced monitoring system, only for the suspect to turn out to be in fact an ad posted on the side of a bus.

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