Cyber crime: WhatsApp SCAM

WhatsApp SCAM?

In today’s world of communication convenience, many of us will have at least one (or more) digital communicator of sort (e.g., WhatsApp, Messenger, Skype, Telegram, Signal, etc.) installed on our mobile phones. With the rise of Cyber Crime specifically SCAM; many of us would have encountered it in one form or another.

Today we want to share a recent experience of John, Head of Services at Cybiant, on WhatsApp SCAM and create the awareness on what to look out for, so we continue to stay safe while using it.

How To Spot a Text Scam

WhatsApp Scam

Figure 1: A screen shot of the WhatsApp messages which is considered a SCAM

Above is a screen shot of the WhatsApp messages that John received which he strongly believes is a SCAM.

Below are his observations as to why the above is a SCAM based on his assessment and interaction with the Scammer sending it. See if you came to the same conclusions as his.

  • The above message came through on Monday 11th July 2022 itself which was a Public Holiday (Hari Raya Haji) in Malaysia.
  • Mobile Number was from Australia.
  • A scammer claimed to be a friend of John whom he knows does NOT own an Australian Mobile Number.
  • The scammer claimed to be in a meeting. Again, from what he knows the person whom scammer claim was away on holiday on that day in another country.
  • The scammer asked him to go to a physical store to get Google or Apple card. If he recalls his friend uses an Apple iPhone exclusively, so why asked him to get a Google or Apple card and not being specific.
  • Scammer asked to share the back code of the Google Play or Apple card for a presentation? If he recalls, we do NOT need such thing to do presentation either physical or virtual.
  • When he said, “You are not who you are!” the scammer again claimed he is indeed his friend.

So, did you spot those “suspicious” items/points that he would classify the message as a SCAM? If he had not spotted those “suspicious” items/points and checked with his friend to validate if indeed it was who the scammer claimed he is, he would have fallen victim to the WhatsApp scam here.

What’s Next?

He proceeded to report and blocked the said Scammer on WhatsApp. But it would not stop the Scammer from migrating to another mobile number and registering with WhatsApp to try the same trick again. Perhaps with another person out there whom they hope to get “lucky” in scamming them. By sharing this real-life experience of him encountering a scam on WhatsApp, with the sincere hope that we all stay vigilant and be conscious of the way  scammers get to us.

In today’s every changing Digital landscape, we cannot be too vigilant these days when dealing with the various Digital tools in our possession and usage. Adopting a “Zero Trust Strategy” in requiring authenticating whom we are communicating always is the key to protecting others and ourselves here.

As the good old saying goes “Trust is good, validate is Better” makes a ton of sense in today’s digital world.

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