You all received viral messages from people you know and sometimes you were tempted to hit the share button yourself. Why not? I mean, if WattsApp is going to introduced the pay-to-play app and the only way you can stop them is to share to your contacts with the provided link, of course you will do it. You do it for yourself and for the others! right?
Well, wrong! You are actually doing it for some pretty dubious dudes that is using you and other altruist and kind spirits to do a lot of internet harm.
First off all, companies are not actually appealing to general public in order to collect personal information or inform you on a change in Terms and Conditions of the services they provide! They are using the official email address provided by clients and they do not ask for personal details via email! This is the norm and it is actually and legal compliancy NOT to ask for personal information like social security, addresses, bank accounts and PIN/passwords via email. Other norms like GDPR in Europe also restricts these practices so you have no reason to fall for these kind of scams.
Why do they send viral messages on platforms like WattsApp, Messenger or emails?
There are at least 3 reasons the internet con-artists are using this methods.
- Using people to share, they are driving traffic to a link in the message where they can infect the mobile devices with spyware to search and steal passwords and bank details. The goal is to rob you!
- The goal is personal information stealing! You are redirected to a page were they promise a raffle prise if you answer to some questions which are oddly very personal. You will not receive any prise but you are the prise! Sometimes they will use your information to try to sell you fake upgrades to apps with the warning that if you don’t pay your app will be shut down. Other times they will just take control over your website and require a ransom in order to receive back access.
- The objective is computer control and traffic! Basically, whatever the messages says, it always contains a link that may look innocent but is a redirection to a website they want to promote or a website that will infect your device for traffic purpose. A lot of website sell traffic to other website and the way they do it is via malware.
The easiest way to avoid this scam is to delete the message, and never to download an unexpected document attachment – whether or not it comes from a trusted contact. The reason these scams are so successful is because it compels people to share them and when you receive a message from a trusted friends or family member you believe the message to be true.
Stop sharing messages with links and attachments. Stop sharing articles from untrusted media pages.