WhatsApp has emerged as the leading communication app, widely embraced by users of all age groups. Unfortunately, its immense popularity has also made it an enticing platform for scammers to carry out their malicious activities. These unscrupulous individuals exploit the app to execute swindles, perpetrate fraud, send threatening messages, and circulate offensive and sacrilegious content. Tragically, countless innocent individuals fall into their traps, losing their hard-earned money on a daily basis.
It is now essential for public to stay alert about online risks and its associated dangers through due vigilance. To prevent misuse of personal information, and financial loss due to scammers and to avoid legal consequences, the users need to be aware of online security hazards and to take timely appropriate precautions.
Here are some valuable tips for WhatsApp users that can provide an additional layer of protection while utilizing the app for productive purposes:
- Scammers often employ phishing techniques to retrieve personal information, hence, users are advised to not click on URLs received from unknown numbers or share personal sensitive data such as banking details, CNIC, debit card details, OTP, or passwords via WhatsApp or over any other communication channels/applications. It is crucial to be aware that reputable institutions, such as banks, never request personal information through SMS, WhatsApp, or any other similar communication channels. If you receive any such calls or messages, promptly contact the relevant organization directly to verify the authenticity of the communication.
- Be cautious of messages that say that you have won a car or lottery from a television game show or received money from welfare schemes such as ‘Benazir Income Support Programme’. WhatsApp provides an in-app reporting option that allows users to report such messages. Here is how you can do it: https://faq.whatsapp.com/1142481766359885/?cms_platform=android).
- Please refrain from sharing, or forwarding any suspected scam, blasphemous, obscene, or unlawful content on WhatsApp. Instead, it is strongly advised to report such content to the app immediately. After reporting, consider blocking the sender. For further guidance, visit https://faq.whatsapp.com/2286952358121083
Once the content is reported to WhatsApp, the complaint can be registered with PTA through Complaint Management System (CMS) at: https://complaint.pta.gov.pk/RegisterComplaint.aspx or PTA CMS mobile app for taking up the matter with WhatsApp administration to expedite the process. For initiating legal action against the alleged culprit, FIA being the designated agency, can be contacted (www.fia.gov.pk).
By Muhammad Farooq