This is a great example of how even the simplest of social engineering tactics can be used as the first step in a likely-larger scam. In a recent short post on LinkedIn, Rahul Sasi, CEO of CloudSEK highlights a simple scam that goes like this:
The scammer begins chatting with you on WhatsApp and eventually convinces you to call them at a phone number that begins with **67* (and then a ten-digit phone number). In India, that prefix is the mobile carrier’s call forwarding prefix. Here in the U.S. we’d use *72 (and then the ten-digit phone number).
The idea is that when you call this number, you’re telling your mobile carrier to forward your phone number to a scammer-controlled phone. And when you make the call, your line is active, so the scammer takes the opportunity to simultaneously ask WhatsApp to reset the password using a one-time password using a phone call and takes over your account!
This is likely done as part of impersonating you to anyone you are connected to within WhatsApp as part of a larger social engineering scam aimed at stealing money from your contacts.
It’s a simple, yet devious, scam and demonstrates how easy it is for someone who is not paying attention, or is unaware of the repercussions of their actions can fall prey to an attack. The same is true for employees within an organization, if they don’t understand the social engineering red flags they should see when interacting with a malicious email message, they’ll become the victim. Continual Security Awareness Training is the most effective way to ensure employees don’t fall for either type of scam, protecting the business and themselves.