WhatsApp Fraud Alert: Tips on how to protect yourself from scams on messenger app
WhatsApp is the most used messenger in the world and interestingly, with more than 467 million active usernames, India is the biggest market for the Meta-owned company.
In 2021, WhatsApp revised its user data policy, which made it mandatory for users to accept to share communication between them and their business WhatsApp account, with the company. But, due to the public anger and intervention by the Indian judicial body and government, it was junked.
Despite the controversies, WhatsApp remains to be popular among Indians, but lately, we are seeing a lot of spam calls and fraudulent messages with malicious content spreading on the messenger app.
The most recent is the spike in unknown numbers with foreign country codes calling potential victims offering work-from-home jobs with high salaries. Several people have fallen victim to this scam.
It should be noted that some private telecommunication companies in South East Asian countries, in a bid to make quick bucks, sell country codes for internet calling. Cyber criminals use this service and get these numbers to scam innocent common people to steal their money.
As per recent reports, threat actors are calling with international codes such as Ethiopia (+251), Indonesia (+62), Kenya (+254), Peru (+51)Vietnam (+84), and others to lure victims. They offer easy jobs such as writing a review of random hotels around the world and for that, they will reward with a small amount.
With that, they build trust among the victims and initiate the next step by asking them to invest some money in cryptocurrency. They will say that if there is more transaction of this currency, its value will increase and you (the victim) can earn several times the initial investment.
Wise people will stop at this, but some already consumed by greed of earning easy money in a short time, invest more and within a few weeks or a month or two, the crypto platform will go bust and the victim would have lost a significant amount by that time.
These crypto platforms are compromised with malicious codes and can increase or decrease the value of a particular cryptocurrency and once locked, your real money will be lost forever.
Someone I know got scammed & lost money.
It started with a response to a part-time job offer on WhatsApp. The first few tasks were about leaving fake reviews for resorts & restaurants in random places like Peru. ~Rs 30k was transferred to the bank for the tasks completed. 1/8
— Nithin Kamath (@Nithin0dha) May 3, 2023
So, WhatsApp users are advised to be cautious when receiving a call or messages from an international number.
Here’s how to safeguard yourself from fraud on WhatsApp:
1) Do not share your personal information with anyone
2) Do not reply to any unknown numbers, particularly if it has an international country code. Always, stop and think before you act
2) Change Privacy settings to protect profile photo and other details
Here’s how to change privacy settings
Android: Tap More options > Settings > Privacy.
iPhone: Tap Settings > Privacy.
KaiOS: Press Options > Settings > Account > Privacy.
Desktop: Click Menu > Settings > Privacy.
Then, change who can:
—See your Last Seen and Online
—See your Profile Photo
—See your About information
—See your Status updates
—See Read Receipts
—Add you to Groups
4) Block and Report suspicious accounts
—Open a chat with the contact, then tap More > Block > Block. You can also report the contact by tapping Report contact > Block.
—Open a chat with the contact, then tap the name of the contact > Block > Block.
5) Turn on Two-Step Verification
—Open WhatsApp Settings.
—Tap Account > Two-step verification > Enable.
—Create a 6-digit two-step verification PIN and confirm it.
—Provide an email address you can access or tap Skip if you don’t want to add an email address. We recommend adding an email address as this allows you to reset two-step verification, and helps safeguard your account.
—Confirm the email address and tap Save or Done.
[Note: Ensure, you give your email address as it will be helpful in resetting the six-code verification code in case you forget the code in the future.]
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