New Delhi: Cybercrime is evolving day by day, thanks to the use of emails, SMS, and now WhatsApp. The most widely used chat app has turned into a platform for cyber fraud, with users being duped using numerous methods. The most recent WhatsApp scam involves cyber criminals pretending to be family members. Suffolk Trading Standards in the United Kingdom has issued a warning to WhatsApp users that fraudsters are targeting them via false messages posing as a member of their family.
A mother from Kessingland received a WhatsApp message from an unknown number claiming to be her daughter. The con artist attempted to persuade her that she had fallen into the washroom and that this was her new phone number. The story doesn't end there; the scammer then requested money from the WhatsApp user because she needed to pay a bill and couldn't access her account. Fortunately, the mother did not fall for the trick and instead communicated with her daughter through other channels.
The Suffolk County Council has revealed some staggering losses as a result of WhatsApp scams and other types of fraud. According to the Council, "..It is estimated that scams cost the UK between £5 billion and £10 billion each year. Scams can come in the form of phone calls, letters, emails, the internet, or even knocking on your door."
How to determine if it's a WhatsApp scam or not?
Scammers will attempt to contact you unexpectedly. They may pose as a member of your family, a relative, or a friend, but never fall for it. Please double-check.
Fradusters will attempt to obtain personal or financial information from you.
They'll construct a situation that appears to be urgent, putting you under pressure to answer immediately.
They will request that you keep their communication private.
How to avoid being the victim of a scam?
- You should double-check their credentials. Attempt to obtain knowledge that is only known to you and your family. Make contact with anyone you know who might be able to provide information about them.
- Keep an eye out for grammatical or spelling errors. Another way to tell if the individual is someone you know is to look at their writing style.
- Even if they seem to be bank employees, never give out your bank account information.
- Sending money to someone you don't know is never a good idea. If you're dealing with a phoney family member, be sure you know their true identity first.
- If you come across a scam or a cyber-fraudster, report them. You may also report directly through WhatsApp by going to Settings - Help and then Contact Us. There, explain your situation and report the scam.