400 People: Victims Of Banking Fraud By Whatsapp

A notable consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is the unusual increase in electronic fraud, for which more and better methods appear every day in countries such as Spain, the United States and South America. One of the tools most used by these groups is WhatsApp, used to impersonate banks, credit companies, lenders and other facades in order to obtain bank transfers and even personal and financial data of the victims.

For a couple of years, the Uruguayan Prosecutor's Office has been working on the investigation of a notorious network of scammers operating on WhatsApp, in what the authorities define as the largest scam in the country's history. It all begins with a series of posts on Facebook in which loans are offered for large sums of money and that those interested could request without major complications or minimum requirements.

Interested parties should contact the scammers through the Facebook page. As soon as the criminals see the request, they contact the victim through the messaging platform, arguing that the loan could be approved immediately.

The alleged loan approval occurs less than 48 hours later, the criminals even send details to the victim about the payment of the fake loan. The biggest red flag is here, as criminals request that victims make a transfer of between $ 150 and $ 700 as "administrative expenses." The scammers have already cheated about 500 people, making about $ 46,000 in illegal profits

According to the prosecution, this organization has four main operators and more than 100 members in total. The members of the criminal organization, using legitimate identification numbers, receive the money transfers of the victims in the collection networks, in exchange for a percentage of profit.

A few days ago, the Economic Crimes Prosecutor Ricardo Lackner announced the arrest of eight members of the organization and asked the Justice to convict them of crimes such as organized crime and the use of money obtained in an illegitimate way.

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