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WhatsApp scams

by 13 September 2023No Comments

Scams on Whatsapp: How to Recognize and Avoid Them

Remember the times of telephone scams or those perpetrated through the intercom? Those were the days when scammers spent entire days observing potential victims, often identifying elderly people as easy targets. Once the victim was identified, a call was made, altering the voice to sound like a child or close relative looking for urgent money. But as technology has evolved, scams have also updated. Now, WhatsApp has become the new breeding ground for scammers 2.0.

Whatsapp and False Child Number: How It Works

The start of the WhatsApp scam is often an emergency message, apparently coming from a son or daughter in need. The scammer may report a change in phone number, claiming that they had an accident and almost destroyed their previous phone. If you receive such a communication, it is time to raise the first alarm bells. After all, the SIM card can easily be inserted into another device, so a number change should arouse suspicion.

Updating the Address Book: The Danger Sign

The scammer may ask you to update your address book with the new number. This represents the second alarm bell. Updating your number may seem like an innocent act, but it can provide the scammer with more information and the ability to perfect their scam over time. In many cases, the scam will begin immediately after you show gullibility by responding to the initial message. This is when the scammer will trigger a further emergency by asking for an urgent loan or payment.

Instant Bank Transfer Requests: An Unmistakable Signal

The third and most obvious red flag is the request for an instant bank transfer. This type of transaction is irreversible: once the transfer has been made, you will no longer be able to cancel it. It is crucial in these moments to avoid blindly trusting chat messages, regardless of how authentic they may seem. A video call on WhatsApp could provide the necessary confirmation to unmask the scammer, who at this point will probably move on to looking for the next victim.

Case Study: An Emptied Account and a Lesson Learned

Unfortunately, not everyone can recognize these signs. A mother, not accustomed to the use of technology, fell victim to this scam, as described in a viral post on Twitter by her son. He received an urgent transfer request and, without thinking too much, sent almost 5,000 euros to the scammer. The sum, not being "round", seemed realistic, leading her to lower her guard.

Conclusion: How to Protect Yourself from WhatsApp Scams

Awareness is the first step in protecting yourself from scams. Watch carefully for red flags and don't blindly trust unverified messages or calls. And above all, if you find yourself in a similar situation, take the time to verify the identity of the caller through other channels, such as a video call or voice call, before making any financial decisions.

Educating ourselves and informing others can significantly help combat these sophisticated scams, ensuring that fewer people fall victim to such malicious schemes.

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