Cyber scams have become a growing concern in India over the last few months, with thousands of people reportedly losing lakhs and crores of their hard-earned money. The latest in this series of scams is the “WhatsApp screen share scam,” which leverages WhatsApp’s recently launched screen share feature.
What is the WhatsApp Screen Share Scam?
The WhatsApp screen share scam is a deceptive scheme in which scammers trick users into starting screen sharing on their phones through the WhatsApp app. Unlike traditional scams that rely on direct requests for sensitive information, this scam manipulates users into granting the scammer access to their phone’s screen in real time.
Scammers achieve this by faking their identity, creating a sense of urgency, or promising assistance with phone-related issues. However, as soon as users start the screen share, they unknowingly grant the scammer the ability to see everything happening on their screen in real-time. This access goes beyond WhatsApp messages, extending to sensitive information such as one-time passwords (OTPs) for bank accounts, social media, or other important services—anything that users scroll through during the screen share period.
Using this information, scammers can steal OTPs to drain bank accounts, change passwords to lock the user out of social media, or even install malware for future tracking. What makes this scam particularly dangerous is that scammers don’t require users to actively provide information. They merely need users to click a button to enable screen sharing.
How to stay safe
Here are some important tips to stay safe from WhatsApp screen-sharing scams:
- When receiving calls on WhatsApp, be cautious of unknown numbers. Avoid answering calls from unfamiliar contacts, and verify the caller’s identity if in doubt.
- Never share your OTP, credit/debit card number, or CVV with anyone, even if they appear to be legitimate requests.
- Maintain password confidentiality. Never share with anyone, even officials.
- When sharing your screen during a video call, make sure to have the file you want to share already opened. Avoid opening apps that may contain sensitive information, such as messages or notepads with passwords.
Remember, your safety is in your hands. Stay vigilant and protect yourself from falling prey to such scams.