With services like WhatsApp and other such messaging platforms, communication has become easier and highly convenient. But, as these services gain popularity, they start attracting a whole lot of scammers and criminal minds. This post tells you about two types of potential online scams that you must watch out for.
A couple of days back, I came across a WhatsApp message which goes like this:
“Any vehicle on the road, if you want to know the name of the owner, it is very simple. Just type VAHAN space Vehicle No and send to 7738299899, you can get the owner of the vehicle in return SMS, thanks to “DIGITAL INDIA” it will be easy to complain on vehicles who do not follow traffic rules, and commit Road Accidents. Please share…”
So, we ran some background checks on this lest anything fishy is going on. It seems that this number is genuine and has been devised by the Transport Road Ministry of the country. The Times of India quotes “While buying a used car or any other vehicle, you can now check its genuineness simply by sending an SMS to 7738299899 from your mobile phone…” Now, with little analysis, it can be understood that the above message might be a misguided version of what has been quoted in the news. Nevertheless, there’s no harm done, because the number is genuine.
To continue, here is another incident about a post that I saw recently on my LinkedIn page. It read:
“I am into recruiting, and I can get you job prospects of various positions in Finance, Software, Banking, Marketing, Logistics, Media, Fashion and more. If interested, ping me your number and we’ll get in touch.”
As expected, many LinkedIn users posted their phone numbers in the comment section of this post.
Coming to the main point, why have we put together these two incidents?
About the first incident, there is no two ways about the fact that this message is most likely going viral and many people might have even tried texting to the number, without verifying the information. And this habit of ours to act on something sensational without thinking, is what encourages online scammers. It will be wise to assume that cyber criminals will be crafting similar messages and propagating them on WhatsApp and other such messaging platforms. And the contact details that they might provide, be it a phone number or an email address, will be used to get your phone number and email address. And using this very information, they might target you in the future.
Talking about the second incident, we don’t know how genuine is the LinkedIn post or the person who has posted it. It is not surprising to know that LinkedIn, like many other social networks, is also riddled with fake profiles. We had discussed about this topic in length in one of our earlier posts. So, assuming that the post mentioned above is fake, then users who had posted their phone numbers, have basically furnished the same to an online scammer. Moreover, by mentioning their numbers publicly, they have, in any case, allowed hackers and other scammers record the information.
Before acting on any social media post, text message, call, etc., that requires you to share your information or reveals your information, think and run a background check first. Your phone number, name, date of birth, etc., might be a bunch of ordinary information for you, but for cyber criminals, they are pure gold. Stay safe!