Scammers are constantly finding new ways to steal personal data and money. WhatsApp users in the United States need to exercise special caution as a series of new scam messages are circulating. Here’s what you should watch out for.
At this time of year, many of us are eagerly looking forward to a well-deserved vacation. And who wouldn’t want to travel to a fancy, exotic destination? As reported by the German consumer portal Mimikama, scammers are taking advantage of this. In recent days, many WhatsApp users have received a message inviting them to participate in an exclusive contest celebrating the 50th anniversary of Singapore Airlines.
All you have to do is click on the link in the message to participate and complete a short survey. However, the shortened link does not lead to the Singapore Airlines website but to a phishing website set up by the scammers. There, you will be asked to enter your name, address, date of birth, email address, and mobile number. The message also instructs you to share the giveaway with your groups and contacts. Instead of prizes, users only receive more spam. Even worse, clicking on the links can result in downloading malware or signing up for an expensive subscription in your name.
This is the latest in a series of fake WhatsApp contests that are in circulation. However, even users who are not enticed by the prospect of great prizes should be cautious. Recently, Sparkasse (a German bank) warned its customers after scammers sent messages from a WhatsApp business account with the Sparkasse logo. The message informs bank customers that the security of their online banking is at risk and urges them to urgently verify their data. Of course, the link provided in the message only leads to a page set up by the scammers, allowing them to gain access to the customer’s data.
To protect yourself, WhatsApp users should always carefully check the sender’s number and information in the message. For example, the phone number in the Sparkasse message does not match any branch number. In case of doubt, it is advisable to call the bank directly. In the case of numerous fake contests, consumers are advised to pay close attention to the spelling and wording of the message and to research the contest on the internet. Under no circumstances should you click on links in suspicious messages or forward them to others.