WhatsApp is the most used instant messaging app with more than 2 billion active users in the world. This makes it the preferred channel to communicate almost instantly with our family, friends, co-workers, and even with our favorite businesses. Unfortunately, WhatsApp is not safe from fraudulent attacks.
According to CyberNews, a few months ago, cybercriminals put up for sale a database with more than 500 million WhatsApp user numbers so that any person or entity could buy them. This information can be very sensitive in the wrong hands. Criminals can steal your number, have access to all your data (photos and private conversations) and even impersonate you so they can ask your contacts for money. This new type of identity theft is very difficult to prosecute, as criminals operate from anonymity.
Criminals usually ask for your WhatsApp verification code to be reset (usually they do this at dawn so you are less likely to notice it), if you don't have the two-step authentication mode activated WhatsApp will give you the option to choose if you want to receive the code by SMS or by call; criminals ask to be sent by call (probably going to your voicemail). Normally, the voicemail has a low-security code, which allows criminals to access your voicemail, steal the WhatsApp verification code, hack your account and in just a few minutes, they start asking your contact list for money.
Although this type of hack is common, there are other methods that cybercriminals use to fool you. Here we leave you some:
To avoid being a victim of this type of identity theft, here are the following tips:
Identity theft can not only occur through WhatsApp, there are different methods and it affects both people and companies.
Fraudsters steal identities so they can apply for credits, loans, etc, on behalf of the defrauded identity. For example, on the report Building Competitive Digital Onboarding for the Banking sector of IQSEC 2021, Mexico has the 8th place in this type of fraud around the world and according to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) an identity theft happens every 14 seconds in the United States.
Although we know that the best protection to avoid being a victim of this type of attack is awareness and education, it does not hurt to have additional measures.
At Trully we are prepared, alert, and committed to stopping fraud, such as identity theft fraud. For this reason, we developed Face Analysis, a solution that effectively attacks identity fraud by combining Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence tools to detect fraudsters. If you want to know more, here we leave you the details.
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Author: Eric Balderrama - CISOLawyer expert in cybersecurity, with extensive experience in preventing digital fraud in the banking and financial sector in Latin America. Tireless fighter against identity theft and account take over.