India is one of the world’s quickest adopters of technology. Affordable smartphones and internet plans have enabled millions of consumers to use digital services such as UPI, WhatsApp, and others.
Unfortunately, hackers perceive this as an opportunity, which has resulted in an increase in cybercrime over the previous few years. Criminals have started exploiting platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp to steal identities and then take money from the victim and their friends and family.
The Kolkata Police Cyber Cell has launched an awareness campaign on social media platforms to educate and safeguard residents against potential online fraud. According to the authorities, fraudsters took advantage of the hype around World Yoga Day 2023 and targeted individuals by pretending to give a free link to attend an online yoga session.
When an uninformed person hits the link, they will be prompted to enter a six-digit OTP. Once shared, the fraudsters get remote access to the user’s WhatsApp account, which is then used to impersonate and steal money from friends and relatives while claiming to be in an emergency.
Some fraudsters go a step further and force victims to invest in a bonus cryptocurrency, which is subsequently withdrawn, eradicating the scam’s digital footprint. Following the discovery of numerous of these incidents, Kolkata Cyber police are now reminding users to be cautious, especially when getting a message containing a link, and they also advise users not to send these messages to anyone and to report them to WhatsApp.
How to Protect Yourself from WhatsApp Scams
Always be cautious, and never click on an external link sent by WhatsApp or SMS unless you are certain. Before transferring money to someone from your contact list, be sure it’s truly your friend or family member. The simplest approach to accomplish this is to video or voice call them.
Never send critical information, such as an OTP, via a message. Check that two-factor authentication is turned on for all social media networks. Finally, if you suspect a message, report it to WhatsApp or the platform administrators.