scorecardresearchBeware of international numbers on WhatsApp! It is a fraud waiting to happen

Beware of international numbers on WhatsApp! It is a fraud waiting to happen

Updated: 17 May 2023, 01:38 PM IST
The caller would pretend to be a human resource (HR) officer of a an MNC and offer a part-time job that pays good money. In another kind of scam, callers show explicit content and record the video calls to carry out extortion later on.
A number of people have lost a huge amount of money to these fraudsters

A number of people have lost a huge amount of money to these fraudsters

The more sophisticated technology has evolved, the easier it is to defraud people online. From credit card frauds to thefts of OTP (one time password) and hacking of social media profiles – the number of tactics these fraudsters have deployed in the past are aplenty.

The latest technique in their arsenal includes making WhatsApp calls from international numbers to people and convincing them to work part time for earning handsome gains.

The scam has become pervasive and a large number of people have already fallen prey to their online frauds.

Some of these calls are made from the numbers from Morocco or South Africa with international code of +212 and +27, respectively. Interestingly, these are not international calls. Someone from a small hamlet in Jharkhand could be using that number while giving an impression of making an international call.

Other countries from where these calls are reportedly coming include Ethiopia (+251), Malaysia (+60), Indonesia (+62), Kenya (+254) and Vietnam (+84).

Modus operandi

People must be aware of such blatant scams. This is the standard modus operandi of these scamsters:

1 They call on the numbers twice or thrice a day or sometimes on the alternate days.

2 When you pick the call or happen to return the call, the caller would pretend to be an HR and would offer a part-time job. These jobs including writing reviews or liking You Tube videos.

3 Those who complete the task are even sent a small amount on their bank accounts. As a result, they start trusting these callers. But this is the beginning of the scam.

These are the kind of messages some users have received on Whatsapp

4 Later, the caller would urge them to download an app and would convince them to invest the money they earned on these apps.

5. After investing money, victims are given an impression that their money is growing, thus incentivising them to invest more.

6. But once they invest a sizeable sum, they are not permitted to withdraw the sum.

ALSO READ: Zerodha CEO shares story of 5 lakh scam. How to protect yourself from frauds on telegram?

7. There is a sextortion scam also that is being talked about where the caller would show an explicit visual thus capturing the screenshot of caller where he is seen to be watching the objectionable content.

8 The caller would then use those visuals to make extortion attempts.

It is, therefore, advised to block such unknown callers making video calls. And calling them back is not advisable at all.

WhatsApp has also released a statement cautioning users from such unsolicited calls and telling them to block these numbers.

“Blocking and reporting suspicious messages/ calls is an important step to effectively combat scams and when users receive calls from unknown international or domestic phone numbers, WhatsApp provides a convenient way to block and report suspicious accounts. Users can also control who sees their personal details and their online presence by using our privacy controls. Keeping your personal details visible to only your contacts can help safeguard your account against bad actors,” the statement reads.


These are the remedies for victims of online frauds. 
First Published: 11 May 2023, 04:27 PM IST

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