Online payments have made life easier, but they have also raised the risk and frequency of online fraud. Here are a few WhatsApp and SMS scams to watch out for.
Sending and receiving money is now simpler than ever thanks to the introduction of UPI. UPI is used to send and receive money all over the country, and because of the volume of transactions it sees, it serves as a haven for scammers who may take advantage of its users at will.
As instant messaging has become the standard for communication, scammers frequently use WhatsApp and SMS to message people and try to trick them into parting with money. Scammers have been contacting users on WhatsApp frequently lately in an effort to trick them into falling for their deceptive scams. Messages referring to employment prospects, utility bills, and more have been more common. The following list of five harmful messages designed to steal your money from you online:
1. JOB SELECTION MESSAGES
Of late, there’s an increasing trend of luring people by sending targeted text messages on WhatsApp or even through SMS. Recently, it has been discovered that scammers are contacting individuals over WhatsApp or text messages and promising them employment chances. The messages inform recipients that they have a work opportunity waiting for them and typically include the pay as well. They also include a WhatsApp message number for recipients to utilise to claim the opportunity. For example, you may get messages like: “Dear you have passed our interview, wage is 8000 Rs/Day. Please contact me to discuss detail: http://wa.me/9191XXXXXX SSBO.”
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These messages and others like them are now frequently used to defraud Indian job seekers. However, if you click any of these “wa.me” links, con artists might demand money upfront, it might be a pyramid marketing scheme where you’d be asked to join a referral programme and bring in more people, or it might just be a plot to steal your data.
According to research from a chat-based employment platform, 56% of Indian job seekers experience job fraud while looking for work. Scammers frequently target job seekers between the ages of 20 and 29.
2. MESSAGES PROMISING CASH PRIZE/ LUCKY DRAW WINNING MESSAGES
Users frequently receive messages on WhatsApp, via SMS, or even via email from fraudsters offering a cash prize. Again, there are various variations of these fraudulent messages, such as showing the cash prize as part of a “KBC Jio” lucky draw or simply promising people a massive cash prize in hopes of getting them to click the fraudulent links. While the latter often includes messages like “Congratulations! You have won Rs 50,000! Click this link to claim your reward!,” the former “KBC Jio” message is more elaborate.
Users will receive messages from scammers claiming they have won a Rs 25,000 KBC Jio cash prize. The message is accompanied by a poster or a video explaining the process. Users are prompted to share their personal information on WhatsApp in order to receive the money if they choose to proceed. The KBC Jio message is even accompanied by a poster that uses the KBC logo, Sony LIV logo (since Kaun Banega Crorepati streams on Sony LIV), and even a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to add some degree of legitimacy. The message even claims that people have won lakhs of rupees with these rewards.
These communications are now blatantly bogus, and when a user calls the provided number to claim the money, the scammers inform them that they must first pay a specific refundable sum to cover GST and other fees as well as lottery processing costs. Once the victim deposits that money, they start demanding for more on one excuse or another.
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3. FRIENDS SEEKING OTP FOR WHATSAPP
A WhatsApp fraud that gained enormous popularity in 2017. This entails one of your contacts asking WhatsApp for a six-digit code. The con artists here ask you to send a code that you might have gotten over SMS while supposing to be one of your contacts. Since this code is WhatsApp’s confirmation code, which it sends to users whenever they attempt to sign in from a different device, sending it in advance will lock you out of your account. Hey, I’m sorry, I accidentally sent you a 6-digit SMS code. Could you send it to me, please? Typically, the message says, “It’s urgent.” Most of the time, people send the code without giving it much thought because it is coming from a known source.
The con artists will now be able to access your WhatsApp account on a different device once you send them this code. They can then message any of your connections in your name and request favours or, in this example, money. The majority of the time, scammers texted contacts of victims requesting loans, according to reports from the previous year.
4. MESSAGE ASKING YOU TO CLEAR ELECTRICITY BILL
Recently, WhatsApp messages urging customers to pay their electricity bills have been circulating. According to user reviews, the message is convincing enough for individuals to think it is real and pay. Here, users get an SMS or WhatsApp message reminding them to pay their electricity bill and including the scammer’s phone number. Now, if someone contacts the number in the message, the con artists will threaten to disconnect their electricity unless they pay.
“Dear Consumer Your Electricity power will be disconnected tonight at 9.30 pm from electricity office because your previous month bill was not update. Please immediately contact with our electricity officer 8260303942 Thank you,” Even though this message does not originate from an authorized source, many individuals nevertheless mistake it for one and phone the number. The syntax or language employed in this communication is another warning sign. No electricity board will text you with a poorly written reminder to pay your account. Most incidences of energy scams have been recorded by con artists in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Odisha, among other cities.
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