A new hoax is doing the rounds on WhatsApp that Facebook-owned popular instant messenger is providing users with 1000GB of free data as part of its 10-year anniversary celebration. Cybersecurity experts have issued an advisory to warn users against falling for such scams on WhatsApp.
The offer activation link redirects to a survey website that promises a reward. It hosts such fake offers that pretend to be from prominent brands. In a nutshell, this scam is designed to generate more ad click revenue for cybercriminals.
Gary Davis, Chief Consumer Security Evangelist at McAfee provides advisory on how users can prevent themselves from falling for these scams
A word of caution! Experts warn users to be wary of direct messages from a suspicious company. WhatsApp users are also advised to visit the brand's official website to know more about their official promotional campaigns. If you receive a message containing typos or unbelievable claims, avoid clicking on any attached links.
"...WhatsApp turned 10 years old this year. It’s not unusual for companies to provide loyal customers or members with gifts to show their appreciation during these milestones. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are using this as a ploy to carry out their malicious schemes," said Davis.
However, the link doesn't any sign of immediate danger such as spreading malware or pulling users’ personal data. However, it could evolve into a phishing tactic in the future.
"More users click on the fraudulent link, the more the cybercriminals behind this scheme rack up bogus ad clicks. This ultimately brings in revenue for the cybercrooks, encouraging them to continue creating these types of scams," Davis added.
The domain being used by the scammers behind the WhatsApp message was found running fake promotional offers for brands like Adidas, Nestle, Rolex, and more.
Recently, WhatsApp Global Head Will Cathcart said WhatsApp could roll out WhatsApp's UPI payments service in India later this year. Currently, WhatsApp has been testing WhatsApp Payments feature with about one billion users across the country.