Accountant Falls Victim to Cunning WhatsApp Web Scam Featuring Misleading Hospital Image
We are increasingly hearing about various WhatsApp scams, yet recently, one particular type stands out due to its frighteningly deceptive nature.
This scam involves a fake webpage, a new tactic that has already ensnared a significant number of victims.
The story of one such victim sheds new light on this alarming trend.
Ms KY, a 37-year-old accountant, unwittingly became a victim of this scam.
A frequent user of WhatsApp Web, she often accessed it at work without a second thought.
On this occasion, she inadvertently logged into a fraudulent WhatsApp Web site.
This error led to her account being compromised. Believing the first link she saw on a Google search to be legitimate, she attempted to scan the QR code from the fake site.
Although her first attempt failed, she didn’t give it much thought and tried again, unwittingly giving the scammer access to her account.
The scammer, after gaining control, silently observed Ms KY’s communications for three days.
Then, skillfully mimicking her manner of speaking, the scammer messaged two of her friends, whom she had known for over ten years. The scammer, posing as Ms KY, played on their sympathies, claiming that a relative was hospitalised and in urgent need of money.
To lend credibility to the story, the scammer sent a picture of a hospitalised individual.
Furthermore, the scammer told the friends that Ms KY’s PayNow account was inoperable and directed them to transfer money to a different bank account.
One friend, who had known Ms KY for a decade, did not suspect foul play and transferred $3,000 to the specified account.
Another friend, also believing the story, was conned into transferring $3,000, falling prey to the scam.
However, a third friend, wary of similar scams, scrutinised the photo more closely and noticed Thai signage in the hospital. This discrepancy raised suspicions, prompting the friend to call Ms KY and confirm the situation.
Ms KY later discovered that she hadn’t received any pop-up notifications from WhatsApp.
She also found her messages being automatically deleted, a clear indication that someone else had remote control over her account.
Following this discovery, she promptly removed the phishing site link, as reported in an interview with Shin Min Daily News.
Another similar incident occurred on 29 Oct, when Mr Fidie, a 42-year-old employee at a construction firm, also fell victim to this WhatsApp Web scam.
He scanned the QR code from the fake website as part of his routine to log into WhatsApp Web for work. However, he soon realised it was a scam, but by then, it was too late.
After his computer crashed unexpectedly and he rebooted it, Mr Fidie continued to use WhatsApp as normal. The next day, a friend alerted him to suspicious messages being sent in his name.
The messages, sent by the scammer, claimed that Mr Fidie needed money urgently for a distant relative.
Posing as Mr Fidie, the scammer reached out to ten of his colleagues, including his boss, pleading for financial assistance for a supposed family emergency.
Feddie, realizing the scam, quickly warned his work group. Unfortunately, one colleague had already transferred $1,000, and his boss nearly did the same, even offering to provide the money in person.
Despite the scammer’s messages being in English – a deviation from Mr Fidie’s usual Malay communications – the colleague didn’t suspect anything.
Mr Fidie expressed regret to The Straits Times, particularly as his colleague, who has four young children, had lost money.
He has since reimbursed the colleague, citing their mutual trust.
Unbeknownst to Mr Fidie, the scammers had concealed their activities by archiving the chat records, making it impossible for him to see the messages they were sending or receive any notifications.
This tactic was identical to the one used in Ms KY’s case.
Feddie has since advised people to exercise caution when clicking on links from Google searches and to verify that they are accessing official websites to avoid falling victim to similar scams.
These new forms of scams, leveraging social media impersonation, have affected over 237 people this month alone, amounting to losses exceeding $606,000 yuan.
Notably, at least 93 victims have been caught in the WhatsApp scam, involving more than $176,000.
In response, the police have issued two advisories in the past month, cautioning against “WhatsApp Web” phishing links that facilitate these impersonation scams.
In the meantime, you can watch this video to find out more:
- Now That The Budget 2024 Statement is Out, Here’s What to Expect in the Next Few Weeks
- S’pore Address Rumours That We Pay Millions So Taylor Swift Won’t Perform in Other Southeast Asia Countries for Her Tour
- Chinese Actress Came Back from Vacation to Her House Burglarised With All Valuables Gone
- Everything About the Changes in CPF That Were Mentioned During Budget 2024
- Aide Dismisses Claims That M’sia Ex-PM Mahathir is in Critical Condition
- You Can’t Take Chickens from The Road to Cook It; NParks Now Investigating Man Who Caught Wild Chicken at Pasir Ris
- ECDA Completed Assessment of Kinderland Saga; Licence Tenures Limit in 2 Centres to Continue