New WhatsApp scam to steal your money from mobile banking apps

Threat actors show a frightening evolution in their attack methods, which poses greater risks to potential victims of cybercrime. This time, ethical hacking specialists report that a hacker group is cheating WhatsApp users, stealing money from their bank accounts using a QR code sent through this platform.

The criminals developed a fraud scheme using a QR code sent via WhatsApp, tricking victims and forcing them to make transfers to hacker-controlled bank accounts. The days pass and more and more incidents related to this campaign are reported.

Scammers seem to look for people who serve ads on Facebook pages for the sale of various goods (furniture, technological devices, etc.). After choosing their victim, the scammers send a message via WhatsApp requesting information about the ad or even assuring the victim that he has earned some sum of money. If the user falls into the trap, the hackers send a QR code, which must be scanned by the victim, supposedly to receive a transfer.

According to ethical hacking experts, this QR code redirects victims to a money transfer page although it is only possible to make payments, not receive money via a mobile banking app.

It is important to mention that there are multiple attack variants using QR codes, so users should remain alert. Another of the most popular strategies of hackers is to force victims to scan the QR code to redirect them to malicious sites that will infect the device with malware specially designed for the theft of banking information. Ethical hacking specialists mention that sometimes people forget that QR codes are actually a different way to target a URL, so these attacks have the same malicious potential as a scam via email or similar cases.

As a protective measure against these attacks, the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) ethical hacking specialists recommend that users not over-expose their phone numbers, as well as avoid interacting with a QR code sent by an unknown user. If you think you might have fallen victim to this attack in the past it is highly recommended that you check the active processes of your smartphone for any unrecognized process, which may facilitate the work of removing the malware from your device.