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Increasing Cases of WhatsApp Fraud & Mitigating Action Taken By NIBSS

Recently, there has been a rapid increase in cases where individuals inadvertently transfer money to bank accounts due to fraudulent messages and scams circulating on the WhatsApp platform. These messages often appear legitimate, leading unsuspecting victims to make financial transactions without thoroughly verifying the recipient details.

The trending WhatsApp fraud technique entails soliciting funds in a subtle way by fraudsters into designated bank accounts using hijacked WhatsApp lines to defraud unaware consumers. These designated bank accounts, which are sent privately to the contacts found on hijacked WhatsApp lines, were unknowingly opened for fraudsters by unaware citizens under the guise of providing them job opportunities. They were told that their salary and allowances would be paid into these accounts. Additionally, the fraudsters often asked them to acquire a new SIM phone line, register it with their NIN, and link it to the newly opened bank account. Once the account is successfully opened, they are asked to request a debit card and use their date of birth as the card PIN. Afterward, they are instructed to courier both the debit card and associated SIM card to the fraudster via a motor park to avoid the victim from knowing the contact address of the fraudster. These bank accounts, once received by the fraudsters alongside the debit card and SIM card, are used as beneficiary account numbers to defraud unaware citizens on the WhatsApp platform.

There are various methods and tricks being used by fraudsters to hack individual WhatsApp accounts for impersonation and to read someone’s messages as well as access to phone contacts. The most prevalent type is WhatsApp account diversion to another phone line. Although through the 2-step verification security feature, WhatsApp will send a six-digit verification code to the initial phone number for the owner to confirm the diversion request. However, with social engineering techniques, fraudsters often manipulate unaware citizens into believing that they actually initiated the six-digit verification code to the victim to use it to join scheduled online meetings via WhatsApp, and unknowingly, the unaware citizen will avail them the code received on his/her phone screen.

Once the code is received by the fraudster, the WhatsApp account hijack would be completed, and thereafter, commence fraudulent demands by soliciting funds transfer from contacts found on the hijacked WhatsApp account based on previous messages read on the WhatsApp account. The other method is through phone theft, and once the SIM card is removed and put in another mobile phone, then automatically, the fraudster will have access to the WhatsApp account unless SIM lock is activated on the SIM by the owner through PUK that came with the SIM card.

Protect your money

Before you transfer money to any unsolicited bank account on WhatsApp, please exercise caution and verify. Try to initiate a WhatsApp video call to see and hear the voice of the person. If the person declines the video call, please do not transfer funds into the account provided.

Shine your eyes

  • Do not open a bank account for or give it to someone you don’t know. It’s a scam, protect your money.
  • Do not send your ATM card from your bank account to someone you don’t know. It’s a scam, protect your money.
  • Do not register a SIM card and give it to someone you don’t know. It’s a scam, protect yourself. Protect Yourself:

Protect yourself

  • Do not click on any unfamiliar links on WhatsApp or share received codes with anyone.
  • Two-step security verification is the way to protect your WhatsApp account from fraudsters.
  • Please activate it immediately if you haven’t already. Activate SIM lock on your SIM card if you haven’t already.

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