WhatsApp is the world’s largest messaging and voice calling app that is used by almost 1 billion+ people on a daily basis. Such a huge number means a bigger ground to conduct scams. It was about time that scammers have now started to shift their mind towards such a huge user base of WhatsApp.
In a recent case India’s largest public sector bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), issued a warning via Twitter to its customer base to remain wary of fraud calls and messages on WhatsApp. Scammers are now targeting unaware users on Whatsapp via phishing messages. These scammers are using “lottery winning” tricks with unaware people.
State Bank of India (SBI) issued a warning to its customer to remain cautious of unknown Whatsapp calls and messages that may ask customers about bank details, which may lead to possible banking fraud.
According to the bank, the scammers are contacting SBI customers on Whatsapp and informing them about winning an SBI lottery or SBI lucky draw. The main purpose of it is to obtain the customer’s bank account information. After this, the scammers ask the customer to call on a fraud number, that the scammers claim is an official SBI hotline for claiming the reward.
In some cases, the scammers also forward a link to the Whatsapp of the customer. When clicked on the link, a malicious application will be installed automatically in the background without the user’s knowledge. The malicious app is then used to get OTPs from a user’s phone.
Post receiving the banking details from the customer, the scammers will use the information to steal money from the customer’s account. The personal details received by the scammers may also be used to misuse the identity of the victim to conduct various other scams or even to blackmail the victim in the future.
Taking to Twitter, SBI wrote: “Customers are now being targeted on Whatsapp. Don’t let cyber criminals fool you! Please be aware and stay vigilant.”
Guidelines issued by SBI
To make customers aware of the scam, SBI issued several bullet points.
- Informing customers about winning the lottery and asking them to contact an SBI number.
- Please be aware that SBI never calls or asks for personal or account specific information through Emails, SMS/Calls/WhatsApp Calls.
- There is no lottery scheme or lucky customer gift offers going on – please stay safe and think before you fall into any such traps.
SBI also states that “Cybercriminals are waiting for just one mistake – please do not trust such fake callers or forwarded messages.”
This isn’t the first warning that the bank has issued on it’s Twitter handle. Earlier, SBI asked customers to be on the lookout for fraudulent phishing emails. As more people shift to digital payments to maintain contact-less transactions during the pandemic, there has been a huge surge in cyber threats – especially in the digital finance space. SBI also mentions that the money lost through the negligence of the customer is non-refundable whereas the money lost due to banks’ fault is completely refundable.
How to protect yourself from banking scams on Whatsapp:
- Never share your bank account details over Whatsapp calls or Whatsapp messages.
- Never trust any call that demands your personal/banking information.
- Do not click on links that are from unknown sources. It may contain a malicious application.
- Never reveal your ATM pin or any banking details.
- Make sure you change your password for your internet banking on a regular basis.
- Whatever the caller says, Do not share your OTP over phone calls under any circumstances.
- Never log in to your bank apps over public Wi-Fi.
Stay Satark. Stay Vigilant.