You may have already been scammed and the scamster is probably laughing on his way to the bank.
While WhatsApp has been often used for 'lucrative offers', the new GST bill passed in India has given scamsters another opportunity to take users for a ride.
In order to avoid GST taxes, many shopping websites ran a pre-GST sale to clear old stock and offer 'best prices' to customers.
The pre-GST sales made big news, especially in the electronics market, where people rushed to stores and shopped online for the cheapest available goods.
But now, scamsters seem to be leeching on to the big sales carried out by shopping websites. A WhatsApp message has been circulating and reads that Amazon is still having a pre-GST sale and is offering electronic goods at dirt cheap prices. An image shows prices of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4 (32GB) version selling for a mere Rs 1,099, the 64GB version selling for Rs 1,299, 16GB pen drives from HP at just Rs 1, Philips trimmers at Rs 6 and even a JBL Bluetooth speaker at Rs 59.
The image intelligently and immediately grabs attention as it has come in through a friend or family member, making you think that it would be a genuine message. The message contains a link (URL) which takes you to the phishing website, named ‘Amazon-gst-sale’, where it shows an Amazon logo with the offer pronouncing 90% sales. When you click on the sale photo, it takes you to a very badly designed website with advertisements all over the place, asking you to choose the product type. Post choosing that, you will be asked to give in your personal details, such as name, number, email ID and address.
Once you confirm your details and proceed to confirm check out, it asks you share the sale advertisement to eight WhatsApp groups to confirm the order. You cannot bypass the same. You are forced to share it eight times, which the website counts and confirms whether you have done so. After you have successfully shared the scam message, you will be allowed to confirm your order.
The next screen will then pop up a message where it gives you an order ID, and informs you that you have to now download UC News App for your smartphone and if you click on OK, you will see an APK file being downloaded in the background. The message later informs you that your order is successfully placed and you have to keep that news app installed for around a week and not uninstall it. The message also tells you that your order will be delivered in a week, with cash on delivery option and you need to show the delivery man the app before he hands over the product to you.
The scam is intelligently designed and makes the victim feel safe as he has not paid for anything as yet and has the option of cash on delivery (COD). The victim also feels safe as he has not been asked for any credit/debit card details, or any bank account number, so he won’t be ripped off.
However, if you fell victim to the scam, you should note that the scamster has successfully played with you. He now has all your personal details, such as your name, address, email address and phone number, which he is collecting and will sell it at a good price to cold marketing companies. He has also successfully shown you a handful of advertisements, which he will make money from the advertisers. Also, during the same process, he has successfully managed to get your help in sharing his scam website to your friends and family, to get more victims. Lastly, he has also made money by making you download an app. The app could be a malware, sending sensitive data out to his server. In short — you have already been scammed and he is already laughing on his way to the bank. Your product will never show up on your doorstep.
We advise our readers to stay away from such scams and never click on any links in messages from WhatsApp, Messenger, SMS or emails. Also refrain from sharing it with your friends and family, who can also fall victim to such scams.