NO! WhatsApp is not offering you 1000GB free internet: Beware! Don't fall for 'anniversary' scam
Are you using WhatsApp? Then, you need to be very careful as the instant messaging platform has been hit by a new scam. According to researchers from cyber security firm ESET, WhatsApp users are getting a message offering them 1000GB free internet data to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.
Are you using WhatsApp? Then, you need to be very careful as the instant messaging platform has been hit by a new scam. According to researchers from cyber security firm ESET, WhatsApp users are getting a message offering them 1000GB free internet data to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. However, this is merely a fraud to generate money by making you click on the link. The fraudulent campaign is hosted by a domain that is home to yet more bogus offers pretending to come from other well-known brands.
The researchers have pointed out that whenever the users get this message, they need to pay attention towards the URL. They have revealed that the URL being sent with the message is not the official WhatsApp domain. "What strikes us right off the bat here is that the URL that comes with the message is not an official WhatsApp domain," the researchers said in a blog post late Monday.
Even though businesses may sometimes run promotions through third parties, the rule of thumb here is to check on the company's website to make sure any promotion is real and valid.
What happens if you click on the link?
As soon as you click the link, you are taken to a page that invites you to answer a series of questions in the form of a survey -- ranging from how you found the offer to your opinion on the app. "While you would be responding to the questionnaire, the site would invite you to pass along the offer to at least 30 more people in order to qualify for the big reward'. Needless to say, this is merely a way to boost the campaign's reach," said the researchers.
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How the fraudsters benefit?
The scamsters are not asking for your bank details or trying to rob you off your money. So, how do they benefit from this campaign? "Apparently, their goal here is click fraud - a highly prevalent monetization scheme that relies on racking up bogus ad clicks that ultimately bring revenues for the operators of any given campaign," warned ESET. The same domain that hosts this scam is also home to many other offers, each pretending to come from a different company, including Adidas, Nestle and Rolex, to name but a few.
Two years ago, another WhatsApp scam had emerged where users were promised free Internet access by clicking certain links. In reality, users ended up on sites that signed them up for premium and costly SMS services or installed third-party apps on their smartphones. "In 2018, perhaps the same fraudsters used 'free Adidas shoes' as the bait. Regardless of the tune, the end goal was invariably the same -- give the scammers an easy way to line their pockets," said the researchers.