A new WhatsApp scam is currently doing the rounds that is offering the rather unrealistic prospect of £250 worth of free vouchers from some of our biggest supermarkets.
The scam, now picked up by Action Fraud, usually appears in the form of a WhatsApp message from a number that’s disguised as a person you might know.
Within the message will be a link that then asks you to enter in personal information which, rather than going to any of the supermarkets in question, goes straight to cybercriminals.
WhatsApp supermarket voucher scams are back 🛒! So far we've seen M&S, Tesco & Asda variations! Don't click the link or forward to friends 🙏 pic.twitter.com/OOegWYdnra
— Action Fraud (@actionfrauduk) November 6, 2017
WhatsApp supermarket voucher scams are back! So far we’ve seen M&S, Tesco & Asda variations! Don’t click the link or forward to friends pic.twitter.com/OOegWYdnra
While the message itself is relatively primitive, the fact that the person sending it will appear with a name makes it look as though it’s someone you’ve added to your contacts.
Outside of WhatsApp itself there have been a number of scams that have used the brand in order to convince people to hand over personal information.
Earlier in the year, a series of text messages were being sent to the public claiming to be from WhatsApp.
Declaring that their subscription to the messaging service had ended, it asked them to click a link where they could renew their subscription.
Of course the problem here is that WhatsApp is free.
While the delivery methods might appear crude, the links will often contain malicious viruses known as ransomware. These viruses can take over a smartphone, lock down its contents and then demand a ransom for the return of control over your phone.
Senior Security Researcher, Kaspersky Lab David Emm recommends that you should never pay these ransoms. Not only do they validate ransomware as a business model but there’s absolutely no guarantee that you won’t be hit again by a different piece of software.
While Android phones are more susceptible to viruses it’s important to note that iPhones are not completely immune so users of both devices should take equal precautions.