5 tips to not fall for scams by SMS and WhatsApp

Since the beginning of the quarantine, the number of scams and cyber attacks has increased a lot. If we consider the example only of the banking segment, the increase in the number of phishings, scams that steal users’ data through social engineering, was 70% according to the Brazilian Federation of Banks (Febraban). And do not stop there, several sectors are suffering from this.

Generally, these attacks have occurred through WhatsApp, e-mails, websites, social networks and SMS, or by someone who presents themselves as a legitimate company or institution. According to Fortinet, in March there was an increase of 131% in the incidence of viruses, if we compare the same month of 2019.

In order to protect himself, Demetrios Andrigo, Information Security Coordinator at WAVY Global, explains that, on the consumer side, identifying a message as reliable is the first step towards having secure communication. Companies, on the other hand, need to have a certified provider that can provide this protection to users.

“The scams are not just due to application security flaws, but also old messaging tactics with fake links, phishing calls, messages from accounts that are not verified by WhatsApp and even emails with untrusted senders”, explains the executive.

But, a few simple tips can help users not to fall for scams. See guidelines.

1- SMS sender with short number

If an SMS comes from a traditional number (10 digits) and pretends to be a message from a bank or a brand, it is the first clue to identify that it is not to be trusted. The 5 to 6 digit codes are established by companies that have the infrastructure and the relationship with the most relevant telephone operators in the country.

2 – See if your WhatsApp account is verified

Hold conversations with companies only if profiles are verified. This is a security for consumers and gives credibility to companies. Such functionality is only possible for companies that have undergone the validation of WhatsApp, a Facebook product. For the user to confirm that the account is verified, he only needs to click on more information about the number and confirm that he has the information “company verified” in blue, which credits the account as being official.

3 – Identify the SMS sender

If you receive a text message with the name of the institution instead of a phone number, there are strong indications that it is a legitimate message. Brand identification labels are developed by certified companies to provide security for all users.

4 – Companies never ask for confidential data

Any official communication from the brands has the purpose of informing or notifying any transaction and, never without asking for confidential data, mainly password, bank or credit card details.

That is why it is important to be suspicious of those who ask for this type of information. Product advertisements came to be used as a gateway for scammers to steal the user’s original access. To prevent this from happening, the tip is never to provide security code for any authentication mechanism, be it for applications, banks or e-mails.

5- Quality of information is essential

When receiving a message or email, the first step is always to evaluate the type of information received. Telephone operators, for example, prohibit the distribution of spam messages and require companies to take care of the quality of the information that is distributed to users. Always be wary of messages with content that promise something very advantageous and, sometimes, unrealistic.

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