WhatsApp users have been targetted by online pirates and the threat is not getting lesser. They look to steal money from WhatsApp users through various strategies, which includes fake emotional entreaties, and sometimes masquerading as an official from a legitimate organization like banks, or government departments. Whatever the case is, their ultimate goal is to steal money and personal information from WhatsApp users. This is exactly what the criminal investigation department (CID) of Assam Police has warned WhatsApp users about recently.
The Assam CID has issued an advisory in public interest against WhatsApp-based impersonation attacks after receiving a number of complaints against anonymous online fraudsters. These online fraudsters are said to be using profile photos and names of well-known officials to collect money from WhatsApp users through several tactics, such as gift cards. Even the photos of a chief minister were used to con WhatsApp users.
How does it work? Fraudsters gather all the available information about a particular organisation as well as its employees from the official websites or while gaining unauthorised access to the contact list of a senior functionary. “Thereafter, the fraudster gets the name and picture of the senior officer/ political government/ constitutional authority of that organisation/department obtained from websites, social media websites, e-mail, messenger app etc. and uses them in order to dupe subordinates,” the advisory note explained.
Then fraudsters send emails or WhatsApp messages to the subordinates from the list while pretending that he is attending an urgent meeting and unable to make calls and hence asks WhatsApp users to purchase Amazon E-gift cards or transfer funds via link.
What WhatsApp users should do
“Do not fall prey to such emails or messages. Please confirm or verify from your superior officer before making any payment or purchase or clicking on the links,” the advisory suggested to the WhatsApp users. Also, CID asked people to take screenshots in case they receive such messages for further investigation. You should report the number to WhatsApp as well as file a complaint on the cyber crime website – cybercime.gov.in.