Researchers Warn Against “free internet without Wi-Fi” WhatsApp Scam

WhatsApp has lately become the prime target of malicious threat actors and scammer probably due to the widespread global following that the platform enjoys. Eset Security researchers are unearthing one scam after another that is making use of WhatsApp. On the other hand, scammers are coming up with innovative new strategies to lure victims towards their schemes.

The latest scam campaign involves WhatsApp yet again. In this new campaign, the scammers promise the victim free internet service without even using WiFi. Now, this sort of offer should raise alarm by default since it is virtually impossible to get free internet without WiFi. However, unsuspecting innocent users probably are unaware of the technical side of the internet and fall prey to the trap.

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The victims are told that they can navigate with their mobile phone without using WiFi or mobile data from the carrier. This lucrative offer is being distributed as a random WhatsApp message. This message is spread through different groups on the popular messaging app and often comes from one of your contacts who recommend the service. The message contains a link that is supposed to guide the victim to the page that is giving away such an excellent offer of free internet.

Image 1 / Source: We Live Security (Eset)

However, as it happens with scams like these, the link leads to a page that firstly detects the language of the device and then shows some images to make the scheme look legitimate. The victim is required to share this message with 13 of his contacts on WhatsApp in order to avail the offer. This obviously is an attempt to keep the scam spreading.

When the victim shares the link with 13 others, they expect to receive free internet however, they only get redirected to other sites which ask for subscription or offer costly SMS services. Some also offer third party apps. No matter what service the victim chooses to utilize, the scammer will be the one making money. Needless to say that the victim won’t ever get the free internet package as promised.

The images that the link shows also contain Facebook profile comments from supposed previous users of this service, most of which state that the scheme does work. All of this is a trap because the comments are made from fake profiles since none of them can be found on Facebook.

Image 2 / Source: We Live Security (Eset)

To generate maximum revenue, this scam is being distributed in various languages; when you click on the link, you will be redirected to the page in your default language, which occurs after analyzing the victim’s browser settings.

Image 3 / Source: We Live Security (Eset)

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You can easily avoid getting victimized through such scams by choosing not to click on suspicious links or to get tempted to avail such unrealistic schemes no matter how genuine it may seem. If you have become the victim of this scam then it is high time you notify your other contacts so that they are prevented. You may also report the fraud by flagging it in your browser.

Source: Eset

Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.