The scam is usually spread to people as a chain reaction, luring the users into obtaining something free or alike.
WhatsApp is of the most popular messaging platforms for sharing information. Random news is known for spreading rumours and scams. There have been many instances where people fall victim to hoax information and scams. The messages lure you to click on ads, download apps and even attack your smartphone with malware. But you only come to know that you are duped after you have shared the information to others. So how do you find out if the message or the offer in the message is legit?
Firstly, do note that there are no such things as ‘free’. There is always a catch or a condition that will be tagged around with it. Even if the freebie seems big and sounds true, there’s always a ‘conditions applied’ information after that. Even lottery systems are usually fake where nobody wins. The scam is just to promote something, create a free awareness about the brand or even grab clicks on ads where someone out there is making a good amount of revenue on it.
Also read: Beware of new WhatsApp threat offering free internet without Wi-Fi
So if you get any message that requires you to forcefully share with an x number of persons in order to get the reward or freebie, then it definitely sounds as a scam. However, if you still want to check out what it could be without sharing the message with your friends, then here goes.
Usually, the next step is completely different for different types of scams. Either it will ask you to install apps, or enter personal information, or other such things. You can decide what you want to do next. But be careful – installing apps and clicking on ads can drain your data, use up your smartphone storage or even give out your person information to data miners and download malware. At the end of everything, the scamster has managed to make you spread the scam (which you have cleverly defeated), make you install apps and gain money from the promotions and ads (which probably you would have not done anyways) and at the end, take you to a blank website which is a dead end.
Also read: WhatsApp message about Paytm to stop working from January 15 is a hoax
Doing so will show you how the scam works in the background. We don’t advise you to proceed with any of the above steps in the first place. Simply delete the message altogether. If you wish to investigate (for people like us who want to get more information about scams, viruses, malware and hoaxes) you can use the above method and be safe.