‘We’re seeing more and more young people targeted who might think they’re too smart to be scammed. They are targeted through social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram,’
A WhatsApp scam that convinces users to hand over their personal details is just one of many that have seen Australians lose almost $90 million this year.
Scams doing the rounds on WhatsApp, Instagram and TikTok have affected a staggering 17 per cent of Australians since the coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns in Australia, a report by software security provider, NortonLifeLock, has revealed.
The research shows cyber crime rose during the COVID-19 lockdown as social media use soared by 62 per cent and hackers targetted Australians.
One woman in her 20s, who did not want to give her name because she was too embarrassed, said she only realised she had fallen for the WhatsApp numbers scam in June when a friend contacted her.
Scammers used her WhatsApp account to send messages to her contacts asking for a six digit code that is then used to log the WhatsApp account on a new device.
This would allow the scammers to then impersonate the unsuspecting user.
When she found out she had been scammed into handing out her details, the woman changed her passwords and went to the bank and closed her accounts.
She was upset she had to explain to her friends not to reply to her hacked messages after she had already fallen for it.
Cyber security expert Mark Gorrie said a staggering 17 per cent of Australians were a victim of cyber crime during the first few months of the pandemic.
The scams include romance and online dating scams where people ask for money, investment scams and puppy scams where ‘sellers’ disappear after receiving the money.
‘We’re seeing more and more young people targeted who might think they’re too smart to be scammed. They are targeted through social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram,’ Mr Gorrie explained.
The attacks on social media often look like advertisements and trick people into believing they are buying a product that in reality does not exist.
‘Look for spelling mistakes or poor grammar, generic greetings or email URLs that don’t match the company in the email. If someone is sending you an unusual request or offers too good to be true, it’s a red flag,’ he said.
How they scam you!
WhatsApp is a messaging app linked to your mobile phone number.
The app can only be on one device at a time and has end-to-end encryption which means only the sender and receiver can see the messages
When a user changes their phone or reinstalls the app they need a six digit verification code.
If an attacker knows your phone number they can install the app which will send YOU an sms verification code to your mobile.
The scam works by hackers using a friends account to message all of the contacts which are the new victims – ‘I’m having trouble and asked WhatsApp to send you my sms code.’
It’s a trick! The hacker has sent the code request to the new victim’s phone and if they send that code on, they are giving the password to their OWN mobile account.