Explainer: Types of WhatsApp scams and how to avoid them
Have you been getting a lot of work-from-home job offers on WhatsApp lately? If your first instinct was that it was too good to be true, you'd be correct.
Despite its security precautions, WhatsApp is still plagued by scammers involving work-from-home (WFH) employment offers, KBC lottery winners, and other scams.
Have you been getting a lot of work-from-home job offers on WhatsApp lately? If your first instinct was that it was too good to be true, you'd be correct. These texts are simply part of an increasingly popular scammers' operation to steal your money.
While certain scams, such as those that say you've won a large jackpot, may appear obvious, others that claim to offer WFH are smart and convincing. In light of these incidents, The Indian Express has compiled a list of the most common WhatsApp scams and how to avoid them.
The WFH scam is perhaps the most frequent of its sort, in which scammers send out messages in batches to a large number of victims.
If you respond, you'll be prompted to set up a Telegram "work" account, where the scammer will assign you "tasks."
Surprisingly, you'll have to pay to receive fresh tasks, and the scammer will keep delivering them while assuring you that you'll be compensated eventually.
However, as with most frauds, the incentive never materializes, and the scammer vanishes when you detect foul play and begin asking too many questions.
The simplest method to avoid such scams is to absolutely disregard any WFH-related job offers.
Recruiters typically hire through established job portals such as LinkedIn and Naukri, where they may interact with a larger audience, and there's no incentive for them to contact random people via chat apps on their own.
Electricity bill scam
Many consumers have received texts on WhatsApp and SMS from unknown numbers suggesting that their electricity will be disconnected if the bill is not paid.
Instead of redirecting you to, say, an official government portal, you're directed to a phone number.
As previously stated, the power board normally warns consumers about late bills via automated calls or formal text messages.
They never ask you to phone a specific number. So, if any of these 'notifications' have an unknown number, it's a hoax. Blocking the sender is the recommended line of action.
WhatsApp QR code scam
QR codes are commonly used to make UPI payments. However, scammers can twist those and use them to steal money from you. One method is to send people SMS informing them that they have won something, such as a monetary award, along with a QR code. The message will instruct you to scan the code, enter a predetermined sum, and ‘receive' the cash.
However, rather than receiving money, you would be paying crooks, making this tactic yet another convincing hoax.
Understanding how QR codes operate with UPI is the simplest approach to prevent falling victim to such scams.
QR codes are rarely used to accept payments; they are only used to make payments. And if someone asks you to scan a QR code so that they can pay you, whether, by WhatsApp, SMS, or email, you should disregard them.