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Fake Version of WhatsApp Giving 'Free Internet'

A new scam is impersonating WhatsApp and using the fraudulent claim that its victims will receive "free internet," according to ESET researchers. 

“Researchers in Latin America received a message on WhatsApp stating that the app was giving away 1,000 GB of internet data to celebrate its anniversary. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when we say that it was a scam,” the report said and then looked at the situation in greater detail.

The URL seemed suspect to the researchers, who noted that it wasn't an official WhatsApp domain. “Even though businesses may sometimes run promotions through third parties, the rule of thumb here is to check on the company’s website to make sure any promotion is real and valid,” researchers added.

Indeed, clicking on the link delivers the user to a survey page with the WhatsApp logo at the top. Not surprisingly, those who fall for the scam and start answering questions are then invited to share the link with 30 friends in order to be entered in the drawing to win.

Credit: ESET
Credit: ESET

“Apparently their goal here is click fraud – a highly prevalent monetization scheme that relies on racking up bogus ad clicks that ultimately bring revenues for the operators of any given campaign,” the report said. Because it can be repurposed to perform a variety of other functions, click fraud presents many different threats.

“Even though in this case we found no evidence that clicking the link led to the installation of malicious software or that there was any intention to phish for personal information, it doesn’t mean that this cannot change at any time.”

Researchers added that the domain used in this scam is also hosting other fraudulent offers from high-profile companies, including Adidas, Nestlé and Rolex. 

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