#FraudAlert: Scammers using QR codes on WhatsApp to steal money
Amid a wave of phishing scams, another kind of attack has surfaced on the internet, this time targeting WhatsApp users. Apparently, some fraudsters are taking to the Facebook-owned messaging service to trick unsuspecting users into giving away their money. The scam has been reported in several cities, including Gurugram and Hyderabad. Here's all you need to know about it.
Tricking WhatsApp users with QR code
The scam in question revolves around fraudsters posing as legitimate buyers for products listed on sites like OLX and Quikr. They first get in touch with an unsuspecting seller and try to strike a deal for their product, just like a normal buyer would. Then, after negotiating the product's price, they share a unique QR code tricking the seller into giving their money away.
How the QR code steals money?
When it comes to paying for the product purchased, the seemingly legit buyer (actually fraudster) shares a QR code with the seller on WhatsApp, telling them that scanning the code would complete the payment and they'd get the money. However, in reality, this is a payment request link, which, once scanned, transfers the money from seller to buyer, instead of receiving it.
The buyer tries to distract the seller on call, too
While sending the payment request, the fraudster tries to distract the seller so that they don't notice that they are scanning the QR code and entering their PIN for actually sending the money, not receiving it. Notably, once the money gets debited from the victim's end, there is no turning back, as the fraudsters simply disconnect the call and vanish with the transferred amount.
How to protect yourself from such scams?
Firstly, do not scan a QR code until you know the person or merchant it belongs to. Secondly, remember the fact that you don't have to scan a QR code for receiving money in your account. In fact, the person paying the money has to scan your UPI-linked QR code for transferring the funds. Keep an eye on your bank balance when sending/receiving money.