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New cyber scam via WhatsApp: this is how they steal accounts selling a ‘big face’ dollar

A new modality of cyber scam affects Argentine users of the messaging service WhatsApp. According to an investigation, criminals steal accounts in order to sell to their contacts “Big face” dollars in exchange for a wire transfer or bank deposit, as revealed by a prosecutor specialized in cybercrime.

Horacio Azzolin, head of the Specialized Cybercrime Fiscal Unit (UFECI), launched the warning on Monday through a string of messages from his verified Twitter account.

The prosecutor pointed out that they are seeing a series of “frauds associated with identity theft, especially on WhatsApp “.

How the new WhatsApp scam operates

In one of the screenshots published, a new scam is noticed in which the cybercriminal takes control of a person’s WhatsApp account, has all their contacts and sends messages to family or friends to offer “big face” dollars , that is to say of the newest series and in contrast to the despised “small face”, and at a more advantageous price.

“My dear, do you have someone who can buy dollars? I need to sell 2,500 dollars big face. I need the pesos by transfer or bank deposit”, are some of the messages of a screenshot provided by the prosecution.

The captures that the prosecutor Horacio Azzolin published on his Twitter account. Photo: @horacioazzolin

In another of the images, there are two photographs of ten “blue” or “big-sided” 100 dollar bills, accompanied by the following message: “I have these $ 1,000 to 150 pesos”, (the quote is from a few weeks ago).

“For a few weeks, many people have been receiving messages on WhatsApp from acquaintances in which they ask for money to borrow due to a specific problem or offer to buy them dollars at a good price,” explains Azzolin in his tweets.

“Those who do this get the contacts of the person whose identity they take by various means,” he said and there he warned about fake mails from supposedly deactivated email accounts or with the bank logo, but explained that scammers now steal WhatsApp accounts.

Selling dollars “big face”, the hook

One of the methods, according to Azzolin, is that with certain data and even with a profile photo that may be that of the victim of identity theft, they send messages to family and friends from a new telephone line, with the warning that You book it because they changed the number and then they borrow money or offer the dollars.

“Hello godson, how are you doing? I am, agend√°”, says one of the messages published by the prosecutor’s office and which received the answer: “Hello aunt, I am already scheduling you”, which shows that with a couple of data and little talk Previously, now the person who will be scammed believes that that acquaintance changed his WhatsApp number, when in reality it is all a sham.

“The other variant is, instead of using a supposed ‘new number’, to use the WhatsApp account of the victim that they previously took,” said Azzolin and then gave a series of tips to avoid what in the jargon is known as the take over account of the popular messaging application.

The most important thing, according to the UFECI, is never to hand over to anyone and for any reason the verification code that the WhatsApp platform sends by text message (SMS).

“Those who attack use the code and activate the foreign account on a new device and then commit different crimes, “warns the prosecution.

What they advise is “turn on two-step verification, entering from the application, to the Account section, located within Settings or Configuration.

Dollars "big face", the most coveted.

“Big face” dollars, the most coveted.

“The most important of all, I think, is to associate an email with the account and activate the verification in two steps or second authentication factor. And, in addition, DO NOT (I repeat, NO) deliver the verification codes to activate the account to third parties, even if you receive a message that appears to be from an acquaintance, “Azzolin noted on his Twitter.

“The key here is the way in which the ‘bad guys’ get the verification code that WhatsApp sends to install an account on a new device. The victims themselves give it to them,” said the prosecutor.

And he explained that “the means they use to achieve it are, in recent weeks, mainly two”.

“The first is around an online sale. The supposed buyer tells the seller that he is going to send him a code to load the GPS and get to the place where he picks up the merchandise or to transfer the money,” he explained.

“The second, he continued, is a bit more devious these days, it is the activation code for a shift to get vaccinated against Covid-19, which you have to pass on to the operator who supposedly called you from a Ministry of Health” .

In the last message of his tweet thread, Azzolin concluded: “If you are clear about all this, take care of your passwords like the keys to your house, you would never fall into this type of social engineering maneuver, I propose to tell your relatives about this and friends “.

Put strong passwords, activate the double identification factor and not give the keys or the second authentication factor, or the activation code to anyone “, acknowledged Azzolin.

“That allows you not to have your account stolen and that way you do not cheat your contacts. And if you receive these messages, you have to ignore them, not fall into those traps,” he added.



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