New online scam targeting Whatsapp users

WhatsApp users should keep an eye out for this growing online scam

Shlomo Witty ,

צילום: ISTOCK

WhatsApp users should be on the lookout for a new scam that has been spreading through their popular messaging app.

It will appear at first as a simple contest for a prize, bearing the title “Valentine’s Day gift - win a prize for your loved one”. Clicking on the link will lead you to a website with various activities to complete, and display a message that you have three tries to win. Twelve gifts are displayed, the most attractive of them being a Samsung Galaxy S21.

One of the things the participant will be asked to do is to forward the notice to at least five groups or twenty contacts, thus helping to spread the scam.

Once you have done so, you will receive a congratulatory message and details about the last step which is to install an application which must be run for at least 30 seconds.

To give a sense of urgency, you may see the words "this promotion is valid for 500 seconds" - a message intended to hurry you into action before the prize expires.

The information security company ESET has stated that the last step is to download and run a file on your phone. This file is a ‘back door’ that allows the attacker remote control over your device and access to all information stored on it. The company further emphasizes that any promise of a free gift is to be regarded with extreme suspicion, and any attempt to cause the user to share or download things is likely an attempt to attack your device.