Another WhatsApp scam is doing the rounds, targeting unsuspecting families with an appealing yet fake offer for theme park tickets. As usual, you should avoid clicking any unsolicited and unusual links from within the messaging application. Read on to find out more about what this scam entails.
What’s the scam?
The malicious message originating on WhatsApp claims to offer five free tickets to popular UK theme park, Alton Towers, to celebrate the company’s 110th anniversary. However, there are no tickets available and those who click on the link are at risk of handing over their personal information to potential fraudsters.
Users of the messaging application are told that they'll be given these free tickets after answering a brief survey and sharing the link with 20 of their friends through WhatsApp. As a result, the creators of the fake message are having no trouble in getting the scam to circulate rapidly around the country.
What does the message look like?
There are in fact several different versions of this WhatsApp scam circulating throughout users' inboxes, with some subtle changes. This could be the result of users slightly changing the layout of the message before they forward it on to their friends. Still, the main content is generally unchanged from one person to another. One user of WhatsApp who had received the message shared it on Twitter:
So, how can you be sure that the message is not a genuine link from a friend? If you look closely, you’ll see that there’s a strange character above the ‘o’ in the Alton Towers brand name. This is a common tactic used by scammers to cleverly disguise a malicious website to look like the real deal. We’ve talked about this previously when a supermarket scam was doing the rounds at the end of last year.
By clicking on the link, you’re asked to answer a brief survey. However, after starting with a seemingly innocent question, the remainder of the questions are designed to capture your personal information. If you progress through the questions, you’re then asked to share the message with 20 of your friends to ‘claim your prize’. Of course, there is no prize, and this step is designed to spread the scam.
Alton Towers have responded to the scam, advising users not to click on the link, and pointing out the suspicious user of a foreign alphabet character in their URL:
Advice from WiseGuys
Remember that you should never click on an unrecognised link from WhatsApp. A safe practice to follow is to simply never follow links from the messaging application, unless you can be absolutely sure that your friend has sent them. If in doubt, these types of scam messages will typically come out of the blue, rather than being dropped into the middle of an active conversation.
If you’ve already clicked on one of these links and have provided any information, then it would be wise to think about changing all your passwords. If you’ve followed a link from your smartphone, the good news is that you’re unlikely to have been exposed to malware (malicious software), as mobile devices are less exposed to these threats than desktop computers.
Still, if you’re worried about your device security, then you can speak to one of our support agents at WiseGuys by calling us on 0808 123 2820. We’ll be happy to help you with advice or guidance if you need to review your device security.