The new WhatsApp scam is so lucrative that it’s hard to resist. And, that’s when scammers get hold of you!
The Facebook-owned instant messaging platform has long been plagued with predatory messages, fake news, spam and more. And now, to add that list, a new WhatsApp scam has been found to be doing rounds in India.
According to a recently surfaced media report, a new WhatsApp message is being circulated on the app announcing that the U.S-based e-commerce behemoth Amazon is giving away free gifts to hundred individuals on the occasion of their 30th anniversary.
Newsmeter, which is a fact-checking website and Amazon’s customer service both analysed the viral message that various people are receiving via forwards from mutual friends/family members and reported that it is false.
The WhatsApp scam message does not seem to have any text at all. Instead, the preview of the link which is being shared reads ‘Amazon 30th anniversary celebration’. When clicked on it, the link lands the user on a fraudulent website that is in no way affiliated or related to Amazon.
The fake website somewhat resembles that of the official Amazon e-commerce portal and tells users that the company is handing out a Huawei Mate Pro 5G randomly to hundred luck users. It then goes on subsequently announce that every single participant who landed on the site has won the smartphone, and they must follow a list of rules in order to claim the prize. What are they?
Well, the user must first further share the message in five WhatsApp groups or 20 friends, then they must enter their full address and lastly download an app. And only then the gift will be delivered within the next 5-7 days on the users’ doorstep.
This isn’t exactly something very new. Many scams ask users to forward the message/link to other users to make sure that it keeps spreading like wildfire among those who are more inclined to fall for such gimmicks, and they, in turn, give up their personal or financial information. Also, most of these scammy websites add fake timers and other similar elements of urgency so that users are compelled to enter the asked information without giving much thought to it.
Thus, everyone who receives such messages or comes across such webpages must always remember that providing information of sensitive nature to unknown or unverified sources will most likely lead to financial fraud of some kind.
This is not the first time when over 2 billion WhatsApp users are being targeted by scammers. Prior to this, last year another scam that was doing the rounds on WhatsApp claimed that it will give users access to a secret version of the app called ‘WhatsApp Gold’ which apparently is exclusively available only to celebrities. And when users downloaded the app, it turned out to be a malware that compromises the security of the smartphone and steals information.
Therefore, it is advised that users must delete any message or WhatsApp forward which claims that an app or website is handing out free gifts, offering a heft amount of cash upfront or giving people access to exclusive features or benefit. The virality of the latest WhatsApp scam message is an example of how easily people are falling prey to scammers and cybercriminals.