A FRESH wave of scam messages are sweeping WhatsApp in an attempt to fleece users of their hard-earned cash.
That’s according to Russian security researchers, who have uncovered a growing number of messages falsely claiming to be from delivery firms.
The team at anti-virus provider Kaspersky Lab are urging people to be on their guard when opening texts claiming to be about deliveries.
Attackers typically pose as online delivery companies and ask their victims to click on a link that takes them to a dodgy website.
From here, the visitor is urged to plug in their bank details, credit card details or other sensitive information.
Kaspersky, a cybersecurity firm based in Moscow, explained the deluge of WhatsApp scams in a report published last week.
“Unexpected parcels requiring payment by the recipient remained one of the most common tricks this past quarter,” Kaspersky wrote.
“The reason for the invoice from the ‘mail company’ could be anything from customs duties to shipment costs.
“When trying to pay for the service, as with compensation fraud, victims were taken to a fake website, where they risked not only losing the amount itself (which could be far higher than specified in the email), but also spilling their bank card details.”
Researchers said it’s likely a result of the huge growth in the popularity of home deliveries during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many consumers are used to receiving texts and emails from delivery firms throughout the week as packages make their way to their doorsteps.
Elsewhere, Kaspersky says that criminals have begun running websites that claim to offer a lottery-style system for buying lost packages.
The sites take bids from victims for mystery items that are said to have not reached their intended recipients.
However, those who paid for packages reported that the items never arrived, according to Kaspersky.
“As in the past, we’re seeing attackers take advantage of new trends and disruptions to steal money and credentials, whether that’s a growing user of messengers or continued problem with mail delivery amidst a pandemic,” said Kaspersky’s Tatyana Shcherbakova.
“Spam and phishing schemes are still some of the most effective ways to launch successful attacks because they play on human emotion.
“The best thing users can do is be wary of any unexpected emails and be very careful about clicking on any email attachments or links – go to the website directly.”
The company recommended that users always check links in WhatsApp messages and emails before interacting with them.
The company also urged people to install a comprehensive security solution to make sure they’re protected from the latest threats.
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