Scam Targeting Family And Friends Circulating On WhatsApp Groups: Report

Scam Targeting Family And Friends Circulating On WhatsApp Groups: Report

Action Fraud has received hundreds of complaints from victims.

WhatsApp fraud, or WhatsApp scams, involve deceptive schemes aimed at manipulating users of the messaging platform into divulging personal details, transferring funds, or installing malicious software. These scams encompass a range of tactics, leveraging trust, fear, or greed. Among the existing types of WhatsApp scams, like impersonation, phishing, investment, and gift or prize scams, a new variant has recently emerged.

Now users have to be cautious of unexpected calls from group members on WhatsApp. A new audio call scam is targeting users, potentially draining their savings accounts, according to The Metro.

Action Fraud, the UK’s leading cybercrime reporting centre, has received hundreds of complaints from victims. The scam involves a fraudster impersonating a member of a WhatsApp group chat. They’ll often use a fake profile picture and display name to appear legitimate.

The scammer then initiates a call and informs the victim that they’ll be receiving a one-time passcode (OTP) to join a group video call. However, the real purpose is to gain access to the victim’s account. They’ll trick the victim into sharing the OTP under the guise of “registering” for the call.

In reality, the OTP is used to register the victim’s WhatsApp account on a new device, effectively taking control of it. Scammers can then use the compromised account to target the victim’s friends and family, potentially requesting money or spreading further scams.

In reality, the code provided is actually an access code that grants the scammer control over the victim’s WhatsApp account by registering it on a different device. Subsequently, the scammer activates two-step verification, effectively locking the victim out of their own account. With this control, the scammer can then exploit the victim’s contacts by sending messages, often soliciting money under false pretences of dire circumstances.

Detective Superintendent Gary Miles, head of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau at the City of London Police, told The Metro: “WhatsApp remains an integral mode of communication for many people across the UK; however, fraudsters still find ways to infiltrate these platforms. Sadly, anyone can become a target for fraud.”

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