It was only a matter of time before cyber criminals started to use popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp to target unsuspecting users. We all know the saying ‘If it’s too good to be true – then it probably is’. We have seen this happen time and time again, most recently in my last post, where a Belfast woman was scammed out of £900.
In the UK WhatsApp users are being warned of a phishing scam designed to steal your personal information and spread malware.
The scam attempts to trick unsuspecting WhatsApp users with the chance of getting a free £100 Sainsbury’s or Topshop voucher. The scam is received disguised as a message from one of your close WhatsApp contacts. It encourages users to click on a link to receive a £100 voucher from the supermarket or other popular high street retail outlets.
According to The Independent the message reads ‘Hey have you heard about this? Sainsbury’s is giving away £100 gift cards’. Though some of them swap the name of the shop around. The rest of the message claims that the company is ‘extending its store network’ and giving away vouchers as a way of promoting themselves. There have also been reports from WhatsApp users in the Republic of Ireland of receiving messages appearing to be from M & S which are of a similar type scam.
Clicking on the link within the message sends the unsuspecting users off to a hidden fraudulent website where scammers are potentially able to collect personal information and install malicious software on the victim’s device.
Sainsburys and other retail outlets said they are aware of the message and have advised customers to delete the message.
With the increase in scams online, users of Social Media platforms and Apps need to be on increased alert to this type of behaviour and should avoid clicking on links which are received in messages. This is one such example. The messages come from one of your trusted contacts but it’s actually a scam with a bogus link attempting to steal your personal information.
Remember in the online world, if it’s too good to be true – it most likely is.
Stop and think for a moment before clicking on anything. Running a quick search on Google will often give you an indication that others have reported similar scams. Be very careful when it comes to sharing personal information online. It’s always best to check with the company before giving away any of your personal information.
Within WhatsApp you also have the ability to report any suspicious messages you receive directly from within the app. Select Settings, About and Help and then Contact Us. Another way to help protect yourself and your device is to ensure that you regularly update your operating system and that your app updates are also running the latest versions. Pay attention when downloading apps to what they are trying to gain access to.
Posted By Wayne Denner