A member of the Techzim community reached out to us, just after the “Sent my six-digit code by mistake” article went live. The individual sent a couple of messages to verify if they were legit or a scam and the first reads as follows:
“Econet in partnership with Netone are offering a promotion of 200MB running Fromm today expiring on the 27/05/21.let your self be in 🤗”
“Send yes if interested”
Lenovo ThinkPad SL510US $100.00 Harare
boxed laptopsUS $280.00 Harare
Hp 15s Ryzen 5US $350.00 Chitungwiza
Desktop HDDUS $100.00 Harare
In my conversation with the individual, I told them that this was most likely a scam, that they should not send them anything and left it there. What I left out was that NetOne and Econet are direct competitors and them coming together for a promotion is as likely as the US dollar trading 1:1 with the Zim dollar.
This isn’t of course to poke fun at someone genuinely asking a legitimate question. In fact, they should be commended for bringing this to our attention because with the way data is expensive these days, it’s easy to sucked something like this.
What I am trying to highlight are the lengths to which WhatsApp scammers are going to try and gain access to someone’s WhatsApp account. What best describes this is the next message the individual received.
Econet Agent services
Congratulations you have received 300MB send a six digit code you received on your phone to confirm transaction
I can’t begin to express just how underhanded this is. People are struggling out there and someone (for whatever reason) wants to take advantage of that by dangling free data.
If you recieve a message like this we recommend you follow the following steps:
- Enable two-step verification on your WhatsApp. Instructions for that are in the link here.
- Click on the contact in the chat to check if they are any WhatsApp groups you are in.
- If you share any WhatsApp groups with that person, please notify the admin of that group so that they are removed.
- Block the contact so that they don’t contact you again.
- Report the number to WhatsApp and you can find the instructions in the link here.
Econet or NetOne will never reach out to you in this way
Whenever Econet or NetOne run a promotion, they would never reach out to you in this manner if you have won a prize. In most cases they will publish the winners of any contest on their social media pages and ask the winners to come and claim their prize.
If not then they will most certainly directly call you to notify you that you have won. More importantly, they will never ask you to send a verification code that you have to send back to them to confirm who you are.
This kind scam isn’t only happening on WhatsApp…
The individual also mentioned that they received a similar promotion for verification code message on Facebook. If you remember earlier this year the “It looks like you” scam was running rampant on Facebook. This is was when scammers were sending a link to a YouTube on Facebook Messenger with the caption that you resembled the person in the video.
What made this scam very compelling was that the preview to the video was obscured meaning the knee jerk reaction was to click on the link to find out the contents of the video.
If you did click on the video you would have put your Facebook account at risk. And there are stories of people who lost access to their accounts because of this scam.
In this case, if someone asks you to send a verification code in lieu of some sort of prize, we strongly recommend you do not send them anything. The person is trying to gain access to your account. To protect your account we recommend that you do the following:
- First, you need to change your password. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. You can create unique passwords for each account and store them using password managers like LastPass or Bitwarden.
- Turn on two-factor authentication for Facebook. This will add an extra layer of security and we recommend that you use Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator because it is much safer than SMS two-factor authentication.
Here’s how to turn on 2FA on Facebook
- Install a third-party authentication app on your device. It’s best to install the app on the device you normally use to access Facebook.
- Go to your Security and Login Settings.
- Scroll down to Use two-factor authentication and click Edit. You may be asked to re-enter your password at this point.
- Click Use Authentication App when you’re asked to choose your security method.
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
You should also read: It might be time to switch from SMS 2FA codes to an authentication app