About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use DMCA Opt-out of personalized ads
© Copyright 2023 Market Realist. Market Realist is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.

WhatsApp Web is the Latest Tool Used by Scammers to Lure Victims; Here's how to Stay Safe

Around 237 Singaporeans have fallen victim to this phishing scheme.
Cover Image Source: Whatsapp | Pexels
Cover Image Source: Whatsapp | Pexels

Payment apps and messaging platforms have not just made life convenient by allowing people to connect with family and friends, but have also become essential for work. But as people are becoming increasingly dependent on such applications, fraudsters are also using them to orchestrate fraudulent schemes while evading detection. In Singapore alone, there has been a significant increase in such cases with approximately 237 Singaporeans falling victim to a recent phishing scam, resulting in a collective loss of $606,000. The Singapore Police Force has issued a cautionary alert specifically targeting WhatsApp web users. They have urged users to remain vigilant and exercise caution when using the application.

 In this photo illustration, the logos of social media applications, Messenger, WeChat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, MeWe, Telegram, Signal and Facebook are displayed on the screen of an iPhone on January 13, 2021 in Paris, France. Getty Images | Photo illustration by Chesnot
Image Source: Logos of social media applications | Getty Images | Photo illustration by Chesnot

WhatsApp Web allows users to access the messaging app conveniently while working on their desktop computers or laptops, without having to check their phones repeatedly. In this particular case, users were deceived into clicking on fraudulent links while attempting to access the official WhatsApp Web page, thereby allowing the scammers to gain control over compromised WhatsApp accounts. Once access was obtained, the perpetrators posed as the account owners and requested funds from family members and friends under the pretense of an emergency.

The scammers requested online transfers, citing supposed technical glitches with their bank accounts to appear more convincing. In a bid to gain trust, they even shared screenshots of payment transactions, presumably to exploit them later. Given their infiltration of the user's phone and access to contacts, they were able to deceive recipients of these messages into believing that the requests originated from genuine account holders.

In this photo illustration the logo of US online social media and social networking site 'X' (formerly known as Twitter) is displayed centrally on a smartphone screen alongside that of Threads (L) and Instagram (R) on August 01, 2023 in Bath, England. On the top row the logo of online video sharing and social media platform YouTube is seen alongside that of Whatsapp and TikTok. Along the bottom row Facebook, Quora amd Messenger are displayed. Elon Musk recently revealed the new logo for Twitter, which constitutes the letter 'X' as part of a rebrand of the company. Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy

To mitigate such occurrences, law enforcement advised the public to adopt the following security precautions:

1. Verify Identity: Always verify the identity of the sender before responding to any messages, especially if they request personal information or financial assistance.

2. Enable Two-Step Verification: Activate WhatsApp's two-step verification feature to add an extra layer of security to your account. This feature requires a PIN whenever you register your phone number with WhatsApp, making it more difficult for scammers to gain unauthorized access.

3. Use Official Sources: Ensure that you are using the official WhatsApp application downloaded from legitimate sources such as Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Avoid using modified or third-party versions of the app, as they may be vulnerable to security breaches.

Mortgage Broker Marketing A Deep Dive into TikTok's Youthful Realm. Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy

4. Exercise Caution with Links: Be cautious of clicking on links sent through WhatsApp, especially from unknown or suspicious contacts. Scammers often use phishing techniques to trick users into clicking on malicious links that can compromise their personal information or install malware on their devices.

5. Ignore Unsolicited Messages: Do not respond to unsolicited messages, especially those requesting personal information, financial transactions, or account verification codes. Legitimate organizations will not ask for sensitive information via WhatsApp.

In addition to these measures, local police have cautioned individuals against sharing WhatsApp account verification codes, encouraged them to routinely monitor linked devices on WhatsApp, and advised them to stay informed about potential scams by visiting or reaching out to the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-7226688.