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4 ‘Dangerous’ WhatsApp Messages and SMS That Are Made To Steal Your Money Online

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With the introduction of UPI, it has become easier than ever to send and receive money. People across the country send and receive money using UPI, and given the volume of transactions happening on UPI, it makes the method a hotbed for scammers, giving them endless opportunities to scam people.

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Instant messaging being the norm for communication, fraudsters are using WhatsApp and SMS a lot to message people and lure them into spending money. Recently, we have seen a lot of instances of scammers texting people on WhatsApp in order to lure them into their fraudulent schemes. Messages relating to job opportunities, electricity bills, and more have been more common. Here are five dangerous messages that are created to steal your money online:

1. Job Selection Messages

Of late, there’s an increased trend of luring people by sending targeted text messages on WhatsApp or even through SMS. Fraudsters have recently been found to be sending a text SMS or a WhatsApp message to users, promising them job opportunities. The messages tell people that they have a job opportunity waiting for them, usually mentioning the pay as well, further giving a number to the users where they can send a WhatsApp message to claim the opportunity. For example, you may get messages like: “Dear you have passed our interview, wage is 8000 Rs/Day. Please contact me to discuss detail: https://wa.me/9191XXXXXX SSBO.”

Now, there are several variations of messages like these used to trick people looking for jobs in India. However, if you click any of these ‘wa.me’ links, scammers may ask for money up-front, it may be a pyramid marketing scheme where you’d be asked to sign-up for a referral program (often involving a registration fee) and bring in more people, or it could just be a scheme to steal your data.

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A report from a chat-based hiring platform recently said that around 56% of job seekers in India are impacted by job scams during their job hunt. Job seekers between the ages between 20 and 29 years are prime targets of scammers.

2. Messages Promising Cash Prize/ Lucky Draw Winning Messages
An old trick used by fraudsters, users often get messages on WhatsApp, via SMS, or even on their email promising a cash prize. Again, there are different variations of these kind of fraudulent messages, like showing the cash prize as part of a “KBC Jio” lucky draw, or just simply promising people a massive cash prize, in hopes of getting them to click the fraudulent links. While the latter often includes messages like “Congratulations! You have won Rs 50,000! Click this link to claim your reward!,” the former “KBC Jio” message is more elaborate.

Scammers will send users a message saying that they have won Rs 25,000 as a KBC Jio cash prize. The message is accompanied by a poster or a video explaining the process. If they go ahead with it, users are asked to share their personal details on WhatsApp, in order to get the money. The KBC Jio message is even accompanied by a poster that uses the KBC logo, Sony LIV logo (since Kaun Banega Crorepati streams on Sony LIV), and even a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to add some degree of legitimacy. The message even claims that people have won lakhs of rupees with these rewards.

Now, these messages are obviously fraudulent and when a user contacts the given number to claim the amount, the fraudsters tell him/her that they need to first pay a certain refundable amount towards the processing of the lottery as well as GST, etc. Once the victim deposits that money, they start demanding for more on one pretext or another.

3. Friends Seeking OTP For WhatsApp

A WhatsApp scam that became hugely popular last year. This involves a contact of yours asking for a six-digit code from WhatsApp. Here, the scammers pose as one of your contacts and asks you to send a code that you may have received via SMS. Sending this ahead will lock you out of your WhatsApp since this code is WhatsApp’s confirmation code that it sends to users if they try to sign in from a different device. “Hey, sorry I sent you a 6-digit code by SMS by mistake, Can you forward it to me, please? It’s urgent,” the message usually reads. Since the message comes from a known contact, people usually send the code without thinking much.

Now, once you send this code, the scammers will get into your WhatsApp account on a different device. From there, they can message any of your contacts as you, and ask for favours or in this case, money. According to reports last year, scammers were mostly texting people’s contacts asking them to borrow money.

4. Message Asking You To Clear Electricity Bill

Recently, people are receiving messages on their WhatsApp reminding them to pay their electricity bills. The message, according to user reports, is enough to fool people into believing its real and making the payment. Here, users receive a message on their WhatsApp or via SMS that contains a reminder to pay the electricity bill, along with a number that belongs to the scammer. Now, if someone even calls the number from the message, the scammers will persuade that person to pay or they will lose their electricity connection.

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