Did you also receive a WhatsApp call/message/link from international numbers? If yes, then you are also one of the targets of the scammers. Well, this is the latest scam occurring on WhatsApp nowadays. Sounds scary. Right? There’s no need to panic though! Users are advised to be careful. But why are you getting WhatsApp spam calls? Who are the spammers? We will decode the whole mystery in this write-up.
Story So Far
WhatsApp spam calls are again trending in the news. You might have heard about it a year ago also. But this time the frequency of such calls is medium to high. Most of the people received 2-4 calls on alternate days. Also, people who are buying new SIM cards are getting comparatively high calls from international numbers. It is said that WhatsApp is an easy way to trick people. Because it is directly connected to the confidential information of the user. People are also complaining on Twitter about such calls from international numbers beginning with the following ISD codes-
What Happens When you pick up the Spam Call?
According to reporters, the scammers are targeting the end-users and luring them in various ways. Such as-
- Job offerings
- Online donations for menial tasks
- Chances of earning a fortune with lottery
In one such incident, the user was asked to like certain YouTube videos and send screenshots. Also, the victims were asked for hefty commissions as a joining fee for the job. Upon accepting the offer, the user was added to a telegram group that was flooding with chats from random numbers.
Why are spam calls and messages increasing in Whatsapp?
Recall a scenario where you visited a mart or one-stop shop and submitted your phone number while making a payment. The next day onwards you get numerous messages about offers or discounts from that store/shop. Have you wondered why? Because WhatsApp has become a hub for marketing messages. Marketers have shifted their marketing strategies to popular apps from traditional SMS. Eventually, the number of spams & scams on WhatsApp is also evolving.
Although nobody knows the hidden agenda of these spam callers. But most probably they are coaxing you to reveal your confidential data that can aid their main objective. That is to steal money from your account. Remember that if your WhatsApp number is linked to your bank account, then continuous calls from spammers are a sign of worry. Because the prime motive of fraudsters is to withdraw all the money from the bank account. In most cases, the victims (account holders) are unaware of this fact.
Be aware of the fraudulent links that you receive from unknown numbers’ messages. Those links may contain malware to steal your data or hard-earned money. And that too within the blink of an eye.
Do spammers belong to foreign countries?
Most probably the answer is “NO.” Why? You may ask. Just because you are getting calls from international numbers, it doesn’t mean the origin of the call is from that foreign country. Is that possible? Yes! Because nowadays, there are numerous agencies that sell international numbers. Those scammers may belong to the same city as you. Quite strange. Isn’t it?
As you know, WhatsApp works through VoIP networks so people can call from any country with any number without facing additional charges. So, most of the calls that you receive from foreign countries are spam.
How has WhatsApp reacted to this issue?
WhatsApp is a part of tech-giant Meta. Therefore, WhatsApp spam calls are truly a matter of concern all around the globe. The parent company has advised the users to ignore, block, and report unknown calls. Be it a domestic or international phone number, you are not supposed to disclose any confidential information.
The company gave the following statement- “We have consistently invested in Artificial Intelligence and other state-of-the-art technology, to keep our users safe on our platform. Our monthly user safety report that we publish in accordance with the IT Rules 2021, contains details of the user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp to combat abuse on our platform. WhatsApp banned over 4.7 million accounts in the month of March alone.”
Indian Government’s Action on WhatsApp Spam Calls
Even though in most cases, people are getting missed calls from spam numbers. But recently an incident occurred that crossed the boundaries of privacy. Did you know, the spammers also accessed some of the user’s microphones? One such user complained that this incident occurred when he was sleeping. After this incident, Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology) released a statement saying-
“We will be examining this immediately and will act on any violation of privacy even as the new Digital Personal Data Protection bill is being readied.”
Now here comes the most important part. Can you catch the scammers? Unfortunately not! Because WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption for calls and messages. Not only it offers strong privacy but also makes it difficult to trace a person. The scammers utilize this loophole effectively to scam you. So the best precautionary measures you can take on suspicious & aforementioned ISD codes are-
- Do not pick up calls with suspicious ISD numbers.
- Never redial the number.
- Block the number as soon as possible.
- Never click on the links/messages that you receive from random numbers.
The government of India will examine the Meta-owned messaging service WhatsApp’s alleged breach of privacy. Despite taking precautionary measures, if you still get such calls repeatedly with different numbers, visit a cyber-cell without any delay. You can lodge your complaint at the nearest police station too.
After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!