A UK fraud expert has highlighted the top signs a scammer is targeting you on WhatsApp.
Fake news from crooks are on the rise in the UK – and they’re only getting more cunning as users get into it.
They are to be sent out en masse in hopes of getting vulnerable people to hand over their money.
Speaking to The Sun, three freebie scammer James Walker revealed a WhatsApp message is fishy.
Interacting with them could give crooks access to your bank account, says Walker, who is CEO of the anti-fraud group Right.
“Scams are becoming more sophisticated,” James told The Sun.
“They’re usually interested in either getting money from you or taking over your WhatsApp account.”
WhatsApp scam attacks are carried out by cybergangs through unsolicited messages sent to thousands of people every day.
The techniques they employ are constantly changing, but generally involve the use of social engineering to trick victims.
Recently, crooks have started impersonate family members who they falsely claim need money to get out of a difficult situation.
James, whose company helps people protect their online privacy, says there are a number of red flags to look out for when it comes to scams.
WhatsApp scam warning sign
1. A sense of urgency
He said scammers like to create a sense of urgency in order to fool their victims.
This can be achieved in a number of ways. For example, they could falsely tell you that you have to pay a fee for a missed package delivery, or impersonate a loved one who needs help.
“WhatsApp scam messages often create a sense of urgency,” James said.
“For example, a popular trick is to pretend to be a loved one who needs money right away.
“They make you act before you think because that’s the easiest way to fool yourself.”
2. Friends and family ask for money
Be extremely wary of a message claiming to be from a friend or family member claiming that they were “caught” in some way.
This is especially true if they ask you to transfer money, James said. “Anything that requires immediate payment.”
Most of the time, these WhatsApp texts come from an unknown number that is not saved on your phone.
The sender claims to be a friend, sibling or daughter who lost or broke their phone and borrows a friend’s to contact you.
They then describe a scenario—like a missed bill or credit card payment—that they can’t pay and need immediate help with.
“What they want is for you to send them money via bank transfer or through PayPal,” James said.
Once you pay, they disappear without a trace.
One way to make sure a message is really from someone you know is to ask them to call you.
If it’s a scammer, they’ll either stop messaging or give an excuse as to why they can’t call. If that’s the case, tell them to call later.
3. Something feels fishy
If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut.
“If a message makes you think or feels weird, there’s probably a good reason,” James said.
This burgeoning suspicion could be triggered by a number of freebies in a scam message, such as: B. Misspellings, grammatical errors, or a link that looks dodgy.
Talk to a family member or friend about it and if they also suspect it, it’s probably a scam.
What to do if you receive a scam message?
James encourages Brits to remain vigilant amid a rising number of scam messages hitting inboxes across the country.
If you receive a message that you think is fraudulent, do not reply to the sender.
You can report suspected fraud by tapping and holding a message and clicking Report from the drop-down menu.
If you think you have been the victim of a scam, you should contact your bank immediately to stop all outgoing payments.
You should also ask your bank to look into a possible refund.
If you shared a password for an online account, call the organization and have the account suspended. You may be able to re-enable it at a later date.
In the UK, you can report a suspected fraudulent email to the National Center for Cybersecurity.
Meta, the company that owns WhatsApp, recently joined a UK initiative to stop scammers from cheating users out of their cash.
“We do not want any fraudulent activity on our platforms and are committing significant resources to addressing this industry-wide issue,” the company said last month.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8714237/three-ways-recognise-whatsapp-scam-what-to-do/ Three ways to spot a WhatsApp scam and what to do about it