WhatsApp users, Friends Reunion, missing parcels, here’s how scammers are stealing money from netizens

WhatsApp has become central to running fraud schemes to dupe users and to steal money from them. Here is how:
| Updated on Aug 14 2021, 08:32 PM IST
WhatsApp users must not click on any message they receive that makes massive promises. They may end up losing a lot of money.
WhatsApp users must not click on any message they receive that makes massive promises. They may end up losing a lot of money. (MINT_PRINT)

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging platforms on the Earth. It is used by over 2 billion users across the world to send around 100 billion messages every month. Unfortunately, its popularity among users also makes it popular among scamsters who are constantly looking for new tricks to dupe innocent netizens. Now, a new report by Kaspersky has shed some light on the tricks that the fraudsters have been using to steal innocent users' money.

In its report titled ‘Spam and Phishing in Q2 2021’ researchers from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky have detailed how scammers used WhatsApp for tricking users into giving up their hard-earned money in the past quarter. “Victims were asked, for example, to take a short survey about WhatsApp and to send messages to several contacts in order to receive a prize. Another traditional scam aims to persuade the user that they are the lucky winner of a tidy sum. Both scenarios end the same way: the scammers promise a large payout, but only after receiving a small commission,” the company wrote in its report.

Also read: Looking for a smartphone? Check Mobile Finder here.

Another method used is sending messages through email. “Emails with a link pointing to a fake WhatsApp voice message most likely belong to the same category. By following it, the recipient risks not only handing over their personal data to the attackers, but also downloading malware to their computer or phone,” the company added.

Notably, WhatsApp is just one of the many ways that these fraudsters used to defraud innocent users. Yet another method that they used for tricking people is called parcel scam, which was one of the most common tricks that they used in the past quarter. They used invoices from mail companies including custom duties and shipment costs to make internet users make a small payment for getting their packages.

“When trying to pay for the service, as with compensation fraud, victims were taken to a fake website, where they risked not only losing the amount itself (which could be far higher than specified in the email), but also spilling their bank card details,” the cybersecurity experts wrote in the report.

Fraudsters also used Friends: The Reunion for defrauding internet users. Kaspersky researchers found fake sites supposedly hosting Friends: The Reunion. “Fans who tried to watch or download the long-awaited continuation were redirected to a Columbia Pictures splash screen. After a few seconds, the broadcast stopped, replaced by a request to pay a nominal fee,” the report added.

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First Published Date: 14 Aug, 08:32 PM IST
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