WhatsApp Lottery Scam

By Fiona Mehta

 

Scammers are sending WhatsApp messages to users claiming to have won a lottery for Rs 25 lakh, which is a scam to fool people and take their money.

 

In such cyber frauds, fraudsters send WhatsApp messages to unsuspecting victims from unknown numbers, claiming that their mobile number has won a Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) lottery worth Rs. 25 lakhs, and that they must contact someone whose number is provided in the same WhatsApp message in order to claim it. This is also knows as the KBC lottery fraud.

When the victim calls the above-mentioned number to claim the money, the scammer informs him or her that they must first pay a refundable fee for lottery processing, as well as GST and other fees. Once the victim has deposited the money, they begin to demand more money under various pretexts. The con artists insist on interacting exclusively over WhatsApp. They get the victim to deposit money in multiple bank accounts, and the scam continues for weeks or even months, depending on how long they can persuade the victim to deposit money.

After a while, they begin informing the victim that the lottery prize has been increased to Rs. 45 lakhs, then Rs. 75 lakhs, and so on, in order to keep the victim engaged and interested. Finally, when the victim becomes adamant about receiving the money or refuses to pay any more, they stop phoning him or her and delete the WhatsApp numbers used in the fraud.

Recently, a 56-year-old woman from Mumbai fell prey to the Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) lottery fraud in April 2022, losing Rs 1.32 lakh after she received a message stating that she had won a prize money of Rs 25 lakh.

 

Safety Precautions:

  1. Any message informing that you have won a lottery or a prize, is, in all likelihood, a fraud.
  2. A closer look into such messages will show poor drafting, grammatical errors, and other glaring signs that the message is not genuine.
  3. These frauds exploit your greed. You forget to take basis precautions such as discussing with family members, verifying the information through alternate means, etc., as you get blinded by your greed.
  4. In any genuine lottery or prize, the tax component and other charges are cut from the prize money and the winner gets the deducted amount. So ask yourself the question that why you have to pay these charges in advance to get the so-called lottery money. This is because it is a fraud and there is no money that you have won.
  5. In the caller insists on maintaining secrecy, it is a sign that there is something fishy about the whole thing.
  6. Follow the thumb rule: Never transfer funds to unknown persons or entities in anticipation of high returns. This is never going to happen.
  7. If you are defrauded, lodge a complaint in your nearest Police Station describing complete incidence along with the supporting documents.

WhatsApp Scam: Stealing money with a missed call

By Fiona Mehta

 

Cyber Crime in India has increased substantively over the past few years. A recent complaint on 6th May 2022 was registered in the cyber crime department by a girl.

In her complain, she states that she got a call from an unknown number saying that she had filed a complaint regarding internet/ network issues. The scammer asked her to dial *401* following a phone number, so that they can help her with her complaint. By following this procedure, she got a notification from WhatsApp saying that ‘you have logged in from a new device’ and she was eventually unable to access her WhatsApp account.

When you dial this number what happens is that you give access to call forwarding. This way the scammer is able to receive all the calls received on your mobile number and eventual access WhatsApp account. After this, the scammer keeps messaging your contacts for money.

A similar scam has been running on Facebook for several years where a link is forwarded to everyone in your friends list through the messenger app and clicking on this link hacks your account. By hacking your account, they can contact all your friends impersonating as you and steal money.

 

Precautions you can take to save yourself from such scams:

  1. Verify the caller, verify the source of the message received, and refrain from clicking on the link no matter how tempting it looks. Block or report the number you got the message or call from.
  2. Active 2 factor verifications on all your social media apps.
  3. If you get a call asking you to put any number prefix (*), do not do so. Prefer going to your network provider in person and dealing with any issue you have.
  4. Do not share your personal information.

 

What can you do if you have been scammed?

  1. Inform your family and friends immediately.
  2. If you have been scammed or if anyone has even tried to scam you, report to the National Cyber Crime Portal of India.
  3. Block your sim-card, freeze your bank account and change all your important passwords.
  4. Do not forget to enable 2 factor verification. This way no one will be able to log in even if they get the OTP for verification.