It is quite common to come across people who fake emergencies to make a quick buck. It’s slightly advanced form of begging where the trickster claims that he or she has no money and needs some of it to get back home. This exact scam of faking emergencies is now happening on mobile phones in the form ‘smishing’ or simply phishing via SMS.
So, this is how it works. You will get a text message from an unknown number, pretending to be from some close relative or friend. The message will describe some minor emergency and will ask for some amount of money from you. As the amount is small and as a known person is in trouble, people generally try to help without asking many questions. This is exactly what hackers want. The real scam starts the moment you pay.Read more ↓
For example, you can receive a message from an unknown number which reads something like, “Hey, I am Priya (who happens to be your cousin sister), I just lost my wallet and I am stuck at the market. Can you please send me Rs 500 on my Paytm wallet by clicking on this link *url*. Don’t send money on my existing Paytm number as it is blocked. Please help fast.”
As Rs 500 is a small amount, the tendency is to mostly pay the money first and then get into the details. The catch here is the moment you click on the link, fake payments website opens which intends to steal your online banking or card details. While sending just Rs 500 to help your cousin sister, you might end up losing a lot more than that with a compromised bank account. With personal information and family relations being available easily on social media, it has become very easy to trick people, especially with this kind of messages.
Readers are highly advised to be very careful while communicating with unknown numbers. It is always a good idea to verify the ‘emergency’ before going ahead to help.