KOLKATA: As the cyber cell has received several WhatsApp scams in recent days, Kolkata police took to social media to explain fraud and suggested ways to avoid the trap where the victim loses control of their WhatsApp account and the accused siphons money from their contacts. So far, two victims have lost Rs 50,000 and Rs 11,000 respectively, despite attempts numbering in the dozens.
According to police, a caller posed as a customer service representative for a cellphone operator and asked the victim if there were any internet problems. “Even if the issue has been resolved, the person says that a service request was made on behalf of the victim that needs to be resolved. The person then asks the victim to dial a code made up of several characters and numbers. Once the victim makes the call, he or she will be logged out of the WhatsApp account and hackers will take control of it,” Kolkata Police said using slides placed on their Twitter handle.
The short codes that victims dial are actually service request numbers for telecom operators to enable “call forwarding”. This feature allows the user to redirect calls.
Finally, the hackers use the technique to forward the victims’ calls to their own numbers. At the same time, they start the WhatsApp registration process on their smartphones as well as generating and selecting the OTP Verification by phone call. The hacker also chooses the OTP via call option to get it through the redirected number. This gives hackers complete control over WhatsApp,” says DCP (Cyber) Praveen Prakash.