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How to be Safe from WhatsApp Scams

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These days we see numerous online scam messages being circulated through WhatsApp forwards. Read on to know how to be safe from WhatsApp Scams…

With more than 1.5 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging app that is evolving into a multi-purpose platform. While the Facebook-owned messaging platform’s popularity is rising by the day, scammers and fraudsters are also increasingly targeting its users to steal their personal information and banking/payment credentials.

WhatsApp Scams & Frauds
The scams and hoaxes circulated on WhatsApp may seem harmless messages at a glance, but they are actually malicious and misleading messages. Sometimes, the most common messages users receive in WhatsApp contain hoaxes, phishing attacks, scams, and web links to malware/spyware.

These days, online fraudsters are using WhatsApp to persuade users to share personal details and identity them, spy on them using malicious software, and steal money by offering fake vouchers, WhatsApp subscription/services, free products etc.

Listed here are some of the dangerous scams and hoaxes that WhatsApp users should be careful about…

WhatsApp Gold / WhatsApp Premium:
The WhatsApp Gold / WhatsApp Premium scams are as old as WhatsApp itself. A number of WhatsApp users are tricked by scammers into paying for new features (that are actually free), Changing WhatsApp Color, or upgrading to Premium WhatsApp and WhatsApp Gold. These are nothing but phishing attempts. Users shouldn’t open such links as they contain fake WhatsApp versions and malware/spyware that infect devices. WhatsApp users may also lose their banking details if they pay for such malicious apps.

Martinelli Video Hoax:
Another hoax being circulated a lot is a text saying that if a user opens “Martinelli video”, their devices would get hacked. “Martinelli video” is a “fictional threat” just like the “WhatsApp Carnival” hoax. They are part of hoax chain messages and users should ignore them. However, WhatsApp users shouldn’t open any images/videos/documents received from unknown users as they may contain some malicious software.

Fake Donation Messages:
Every WhatsApp user should stay away from fake messages asking for online donations. Many users receive WhatsApp messages asking for donations or subscription fees for entry into rock music show or any other popular events. In some instances, fraudsters may also send messages containing malicious web links for buying some popular smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets at massive discounts like iPhones at 999, Vivo, OPPO, or Mi phones at 1 Rupee, etc. WhatsApp users should not open such malicious web links through which scammers steal their victim’s banking login credentials and other online financial details.

Fake Exclusive Deals:
Some scam messages, especially during online festive sales, try to trick people into “signing up” for exclusive shopping deals from Amazon, Flipkart, and other popular websites. Users are asked to fill-up and submit their details to participate. However, this is just another phishing attempt by fraudsters.

Fake Free Goodies:
Sometimes, WhatsApp users are lured by online fraudsters into opening malicious links for participating in giveaways to receive free Adidas shoes, Zara or Marks & Spencer vouchers, Pizza Hut’s pizzas, Heineken beer, etc. In this scam, WhatsApp users are asked to submit personal details, share the link with contacts, and buy subscription services to proceed. One must be careful not to fall for such scams, which are again just phishing attempts to lure WhatsApp users.

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