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Meta owned instant messaging app, Whatsapp is used by more than a quarter of the world’s population on a daily basis. The increasing popularity has made it one of the ideal social media platforms for hackers who are now using social engineering and viral communications to blackmail innocent people and steal their money. Recently, a new way of carrying out a WhatsApp scam has been exposed. Hackers conducted this WhatsApp scam by starting a conversation with people by sending an innocent message saying, “Sorry, who are you?” This innocent message can land you in big trouble.
The prominent WhatsApp development tracker WABetaInfo has shared that scammers frequently exploit the messaging app for financial gain. In one of its blogs, the portal revealed that scammers usually purchase a VoIP number i.e, voice over Internet protocol, a technology that allows users to make phone calls over the Internet. Scammers use this VoIP to contact a specific person or a group of people and execute their trap.
The portal has reported that the scammers send a WhatsApp message asking “Excuse me, who are you?”. The excuse used is to say, “I found you on my to-do list.” These hackers sound very genuine as they strive to win the trust of WhatsApp users. They ask basic questions, such as your name, occupation, and age, and then offer compliments to make you feel better and gain your trust.
The fraudsters then ask WhatsApp users to add them to your social media accounts – Instagram or Facebook to gain access to your public information. Adding them to your social media handle gives them access to public information like your friends list and other intriguing facts.
They then start threatening users to disclose some private images with your friends and family (actual photos, if you shared them carelessly, or photos morphed with Photoshop). They keep escalating their demands and shockingly even start blackmailing their victims.
To avoid all this trouble, WhatsApp users are advised not to get involved in any such interaction with strangers and instead, immediately block the unknown number from which these messages are coming.
Those WhatsApp users who are actually caught in this trap, must never send money under any circumstances. Reason is that the blackmailing will never be stopped by the hackers.
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