Who doesn’t love a lucky draw? Unfortunately, scammers are constantly finding new ways of exploiting our weakness for winning competitions.
While we love free things, if you have gotten a link on WhatsApp for a competition or a lucky draw, take caution as opening them could be opening yourself up to a phishing attack.
We are convinced that we can identify these scams right away and we say “It won’t happen to me,” or “What idiot falls for this?” but scams get more advanced over time.
Phishing scams use email and text messages that seem to be from a legitimate company. It tries to gain your trust so you will click on a link to a fraudulent website, share private information, or open an attachment on your device.
What does phishing do?
Well, what does it not do? Clicking on a phishing link or even opening an attachment in one of these messages can install malware (like viruses) or ransomware on your device. Of course, this is undetectable to the user.
Once malware has been installed, it stores your sensitive data and sends out more phishing emails to contacts in your address book. It can also provide the scammer with remote access to your device. It starts corrupting your files while sending your data to the scammer or the person that created the virus.
Furthermore, by entering your personal details to win the competition, the person that created the bogus competition can then use your personal information and pose as you. With this, they are then able to transfer your money elsewhere or purchase things under your name.
I filled it in, so what do I do now?
“Don’t panic” but if you have clicked on the link and filled in the details, disconnect your device from the internet immediately.
This will reduce the risk of malware spreading to other devices on your network while preventing the malware from sending out sensitive information from your device. This can also keep someone from remotely accessing your device.
Once disconnected, urgently back up your files. Remember, data can be destroyed or corrupted in the process of recovering from a phishing attack.
It is advisable to scan your system for malware. Feel free to ask a professional or someone you know that can remove malware. If you opt to do it yourself, perform a two-step scan of your system.
Since your bank details are definitely not safe from this attack, change your credentials. Yes, this goes for ALL your online accounts. On that note, avoid using the same username and password for all your online accounts.