Beware of the WhatsApp ‘Like’ scam: what it is and why it is so dangerous

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beware of the whatsapp 'like' scam what it is and why it is so dangerous
beware of the whatsapp 'like' scam what it is and why it is so dangerous

The National Police warns that there are scammers who pose as social media employees and, supposedly, are willing to offer hundreds of euros a day for liking some publications. Through this lie, they manage to steal money from the victims in a matter of days.

To deceive users, cybercriminals write to random numbers on WhatsApp and pretend to be job recruiters for Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or other networks. Initially, they offer their victims a false job to earn between 50 and 600 euros a day. In reality, it is a scam to get your banking details.

elDiario.es has been investigating this false employment scam for months, also known as the ‘Like’ scam. The National Police, which has collaborated with the media, assures that “there are victims who have lost 18,000 euros” in just 48 hours.

The first steps of the scam

Generally, fraudulent messages sent to WhatsApp promising a good salary usually come from abroad. According to the elDiario.es article, the registered numbers originate from the United Kingdom, Libya, Guatemala, Bangladesh or Togo. But there are also cases that are sent from prepaid phones registered in Spain.

They all usually start with the following message (or a similar one): “We work with Instagram companies that are willing to pay for more exposure, so our company needs to hire a lot of employees. I’ll give you a test assignment and, once finished, I’ll pay you five euros to see if you’re up to the job. You can earn between 50 and 600 euros or more per day. Are you interested in working with us?”.

There are many who take the bait, since the process they must carry out is very simple and, supposedly, allows them to earn a good salary. It all starts with a test: the scammer asks the user to ‘Like’ a post or follow a profile and send a screenshot.

After doing so, some victims receive a small reward that invites them to trust in this supposed work. Later, the scammer invites the victim to continue the conversation on Telegram, an application where it is easier to leave no trace (ideal for committing crimes).

 

This is how the scam continues on Telegram

Once the conversation continues on Telegram, the issue becomes complicated. First, to make the lie more credible, explain to the victim the ‘work code’ that she must send to an ‘accountant’ of the messaging app to obtain daily earnings.

The accountant always responds immediately and, after receiving the code, offers the victim a position as an “official employee.” The benefits of doing so are very interesting: «You can earn 1,120 euros a day. I will present the task to you and you will be paid five euros after the introduction!

In this case, the tasks are a little more laborious, but they are still easy to perform. An example is entering a link, watching the video to increase your visits and, thus, earn commissions; and another is to help sellers generate real data and receive commissions.

When he completes that test successfully, the accountant asks the victim to enter a task group in which different ‘jobs’ are posted. It is a Telegram channel with hundreds of users (possibly some of them are also victims, but there are profiles that appear to be fake).

At this point, cybercriminals start asking users to send Bizums to other numbers to, in theory, get a bigger reward, but they always end up losing.

What the ‘Like’ scam hides

Upon reaching the Telegram task force, victims are offered to earn alleged commissions. To do this, they must send a Bizum to someone to whom they ask that they, under no circumstances, write to them.

The money they ask you to send is very high. According to police sources telling elDiario.es, the user has to give 500 euros for Bizum and, in exchange, they promise a 600-euro reward.

 

«She [the victim] does the Bizum and immediately receives an income of 400 euros and, later, another of 200 -explains the National Police-. She is told that the more she invests, the more commissions she will have. So, she continues doing Bizum to others.

The promise of more money from cybercriminals suggests that, if you invest 10,000 euros, you can receive 5,000 more. However, the authorities warn that this is not the case: “When you start adding and subtracting, it turns out that they have made many fewer transfers than you have made and you have lost the money.”

Once they make a large monetary transfer, the scammers disappear. This is when victims realize that they have been scammed.

The Police tell elDiario.es that it is possible that part of the money sent by the victims goes to the supposed benefits of another scammer.

Victims are also accomplices

One of the main problems with this scam is not only that they can take thousands of euros, but that the victims are, in turn, the executioners . Police sources warn in the media that those who fall into the trap could also be responsible for a crime of “necessary cooperation.”

“They are moving the money of other people who are also victims, which is something that can have consequences,” they detail. “They have received bizums from private people and they have not put them on alert.”

 

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise