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SLASSCOM steps in to combat WhatsApp scams using deceptive technique

By: Staff Writer

June 04, Colombo (LNW): As the digital landscape evolves and cybercriminals adapt their tactics to exploit individuals and businesses, WhatsApp has become a prime target for scammers using deceptive techniques to defraud users.

In response, SLASSCOM, Sri Lanka’s leading IT/BPM industry body, has taken a lead role in championing awareness, education and Industry collaboration to combat these scams.

CSCx Forum at SLASSCOM Head Sithira Wanniarachchi, said that common tactics scammers deploy include the impersonation of renowned brands or individuals, and in manufacturing fake emergencies to induce immediate responses, tempting users with unbelievable offers or prizes and utilising links to pilfer personal information.

He explained that while WhatsApp scams can target any sector, industries such as financial services, online shopping, and tech support are particularly vulnerable due to the potential for financial gain.

He emphasised that recognising the tell-tale signs of a WhatsApp scam is paramount. ‘Red flags include unsolicited messages from unknown numbers, requests for personal or financial information and offers that appear too good to be true.

 When faced with such instances verifying the sender’s identity, exercising caution when encountering suspicious links or attachments, enabling two-factor authentication and staying informed about prevalent scam tactics and only allowing only your contacts to add you to groups are essential steps in safeguarding against these fraudulent activities.

 It is important to report such encountered fraudulent behaviour on WhatsApp to relevant authorities, agencies, or WhatsApp itself. Many countries offer dedicated platforms, such as consumer protection agencies, cybercrime units, and online fraud reporting platforms, to address such incidents. In Sri Lanka these include the CCID, SL CERT, National Child Protection Authority, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Women In Need.’

Sithira also expressed the imperative of fostering collaborative efforts to counter these scams effectively.

‘Cyber security is not merely a concern for individual users or specific organisations; it is a shared responsibility that demands collective action and necessitates a united front fostering alliances between industry players, Government agencies, and law enforcement. Together, we can build a resilient cyber security ecosystem that protects the integrity, privacy, and security of all digital stakeholders. By embracing our collective responsibility and working together, we can effectively thwart WhatsApp scams and uphold the trust and safety of our digital communities,” he affirmed.

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