More than a billion people use the WhatsApp mobile messaging app that helps you send text messages, photographs, videos and audio. Due to its extreme popularity, it is not surprising that WhatsApp has become an attractive platform for scammers. I have reported to you for years about the various scams targeting WhatsApp users. The latest WhatsApp scam involves a message that purports to be from Amazon offering “free gifts” (aren’t all gifts free?) to everyone to celebrate the company’s thirtieth anniversary. The message has a link which if you click on it takes you to a page where you are prompted to enter personal information that can lead to your becoming a victim of identity theft if you provide it.
A good place to start in recognizing that this is a scam is the fact that Amazon was founded in 1994 which means that its thirtieth anniversary won’t happen until 2024 so you know that this is a scam. Further, you should never click on links in emails, text messages or social media posts unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate. In this case the best way to confirm that this is a scam is to go to Amazon’s website where you would be able to find information about such “free gifts” if the company actually was sponsoring such a program. Clicking on malware infected links can cause you to become a victim of ransomware or other types of malware. Additionally, if as in this scam, the link did not download malware, but took you to a phony website where personal information was requested, you would end up becoming a victim of identity theft if you provided the personal information. Never provide personal information to a company that you connect through from a link in an email or text message. Only provide such information to companies that you know are legitimate and by going directly to their website at an address you are sure is accurate in order to avoid providing such information to an identity thief.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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