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How a New WhatsApp Scam Could Cost Your Loved Ones Thousands | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating

If you receive a WhatsApp message from a friend or family member asking for a large sum of money, be cautious before you send anything over. A WhatsApp-based scam is making the rounds, and it has already scored the scammers hundreds of thousands of dollars from the pockets of innocent people.

Let’s explore this WhatsApp scam, how it works, and how you can stay safe.

What Is Happening to WhatsApp Users?

As reported by The Straits Times, there have been reports of a strain of WhatsApp scams that saw a surge in activity during November 2023. This scam involves tricking people into thinking they’re being messaged by a loved one, and then asking them for money to solve an emergency that doesn’t exist.

During the start of November 2023 alone, there were 237 reports of victims from this scam, with the scammers making off with a total of $606,000. Worst of all, the victim may not even realize they have been scammed until weeks or months later.

How the WhatsApp Scam Works

In this particular scam, the scammers combine two already-established scams into one: a fake WhatsApp Web Google result, and social engineering.

1. The Fake WhatsApp Web Google Result

The scam begins with the scammer putting up a fake WhatsApp Web page ad on Google. Unfortunately, scammers can add fake website clones to Google Search advertising, so when the victim searches for WhatsApp Web, the scammer’s fake version of WhatsApp’s website appears at the top spot.

If someone clicks this fake WhatsApp Web result, it will lead to a lookalike that asks the user to scan a QR code, just like how the legitimate WhatsApp website does. When the victim scans the fake QR code, it grants the scammer access to their WhatsApp account.

Once the scammer has entered the victim’s WhatsApp account, they can begin messaging the victim’s friends and family. Here, the scammer will craft a story as to why the contact should send over a large sum of money. This may be a medical emergency, overdue rent, being a victim of a robbery, or anything the scammer can think of.

If the contact agrees, the scammer says to send money over to their bank account. The contact believes they’re helping out a friend or family member in a dire financial strait, but in reality, they’re lining the pockets of a scammer.

If the scammer gets out of the account quickly enough, neither the person who was hacked nor the person who sent money will realize a scam even happened. It may only come to light when the person who paid up brings it up as a topic of conversation later down the line.

How to Avoid This WhatsApp Scam

Fortunately, the best defense against this scam is knowing of its existence. As long as one person in the equation understands how the scam works, they can singlehandedly prevent the scammer from stealing any money.

1. How to Avoid Fake WhatsApp Web Clones

The easiest way to dodge WhatsApp Web clones is to avoid Google altogether. Instead of searching Google for the webpage, you can go to web.whatsapp.com and log in there. It’s an easy URL to remember, but if you’re worried you might forget it, bookmark the website for later.

If you prefer to use a search engine to find WhatsApp Web, always ensure you’re clicking on a search result rather than an ad. To do this, check the URL underneath the search result; if it says it goes to web.whatsapp.com, it’s legitimate.

2. How to Avoid Paying a WhatsApp Scammer

Even if an account is compromised, all isn’t lost. If everyone the scammer contacts knows about the scam, they can refuse to pay up and leave the scammer without any money.

First, take note if one of your close contacts begins contacting you in a “strange” way. Perhaps they type in a different style, misspell words they’d never get wrong, or just sound “off” in general. That’s a good sign that the person you’re talking to isn’t who they say they are; do not click any links they send you, and definitely do not send them any money.

If you’re worried that you are actually talking to the real deal who may need your help, try contacting them using a method outside of WhatsApp. If they confirm they’ve been hacked, tell them to go through the steps of what you should do if your WhatsApp account is hacked.

Stay Safe From WhatsApp Scams

While this scam may sound scary, it’s only effective if the victims don’t know about the scam ahead of time. Now that you know the basics, you can apply these tips in the real world and avoid giving a scammer their payday.


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