Updated: December 15, 2020 7:16:03 pm
You must have seen pamphlets, posters, or hoardings claiming, “Here’s how you can earn Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 working from home”. In recent times, you may even have seen these messages on sites popping out of nowhere on your laptop or desktop. Now, scammers have also started sending these messages on the popular messaging platform WhatsApp.
The last few days we have seen several unknown contacts send similar messages with the promise of earning quick money. Many of the WhatsApp numbers sending these messages are not from India. While the text of the messages might differ a little bit, the gist is always the same. One can earn a quick buck by doing simple tasks, all they have to do is click on the link attached in these messages.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many have lost their jobs whereas others looked for ways to earn money without stepping out of their homes. Obviously some of these scammers are preying on these vulnerable groups by offering them part-time jobs and luring them into clicking on the link that may likely contain malware or ask them to give up confidential information such as financial details, security PINs, etc.
After receiving these messages from random numbers on the Facebook-owned platform we contacted cybersecurity firm, CheckPoint Software Technologies asking them about the threat these malicious messages pose to the receiver once he/she clicks on the link.
“This is likely a case of SMS phishing carried out by cybercriminals who are leveraging people’s interest in work from home opportunities during the lockdown. SMS phishing generally involves a text message with a single link to a fake account login page,” Sundar N Balasubramanian, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Check Point Software Technologies told indianexpress.com after analysing the messages.
“In addition, new SMiShing tactics use a text message with a link that when accessed downloads zero-day malware. SMS phishing, targets consumers and enterprises alike and actors are introducing new techniques to increase its effectiveness. These attacks are used to steal users’ credentials and data to access corporate networks and applications.”
These links usually lead to a website that will ask for your data and later use the “information for illegal purposes”. If you have been getting similar text messages lately, here are a few tips to save yourself from getting scammed.
# Ignorance is bliss. Quite literally! If you can’t verify the source of the message received, refrain from clicking on the link no matter how tempting it looks. Block or report the number you got the message from.
# Installing a mobile security solution (anti-virus for smartphones) can also be a good investment since it saves you from threats even when you are installing third-party software, surfing on the internet or downloading a file.
# Some of these messages even use bad grammar, improper sentence formation which is clearly a red flag. However, it will not be the case always as scammers may disguise themselves as employees of big companies.
Finally, report and block. Remember it is best to report and block these numbers instead of clicking on the link, even out of curiosity.
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