Representational Image
Representational Image

WhatsApp users may now find themselves in a new fix, as reports of a new OTP-based scam across the messaging platform are surfacing. It is advised that the users learn more about the new WhatsApp fraud that hackers are reported to be currently plotting, so that they may better protect themselves and their accounts from such deceitful acts.

According to reports, the WhatsApp OTP scammers try to hack into your personal WhatsApp account using the one-time password (OTP), also known as the WhatsApp one-time PIN.

As users are already aware, when a WhatsApp account is set up on a new smartphone, the platform requires you to enter your mobile number, later verifying you via two-factor authentication (2FA).

Reportedly, the hackers are pretending to be friends, family members or even WhatsApp officials to get hold of the OTP code that is sent to the phone number of the users in context.

Say, you receive a request from an unknown number or even from your friends and families, asking you for an OTP sent on your phone claiming that they are in some sort of emergency. This may likely be a hacker emulating the number of someone else to trick you into sending it. If you send the OTP code to the hacker, your account will be accessed by someone, somewhere, on a new smartphone.

The hacker will then have access to not only your personal information, but also leave you logged out of your account, since WhatsApp does not support multi-device logins.

To avoid falling into this trap, it is advised that users read every message carefully and consider if it seems suspiciously out-of-the-blue. For one, WhatsApp never randomly sends a user any OTP, except only during the setting up process. So if you are not setting up WhatsApp on a new phone and still receive an OTP, be wary of the likely attempt of cybercrime.

With more users getting connected to the Internet and entering the digital payments ecosystem, cyber fraud incidents may go up in 2021, researchers have said.

The year 2020 saw several UPI-related frauds and several banks have issued advisories alerting their users about the same.

In addition to players like Paytm and Google Pay, the crowded Indian digital payments market will now be joined by WhatsApp which recently got approval to start its payments service in a graded manner.

As lockdown has made many micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to go digital, they will have to take essential steps to protect their customers' personal information.

Any loopholes in the setups may provide attackers an opportunity to go after MSMEs.

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Free Press Journal