The mobile phone numbers of more than 3 million Belgians who use WhatsApp are being offered for sale online. We expect criminals to use this data to scam people via text messages (smishing) or fraudulent phone calls (vishing). Scammers are also very active online during the traditional shopping season, which is why we warn to be extra vigilant in the coming weeks.
Last week, a recent database of mobile phone numbers of 487 million WhatsApp users was offered for sale on a well-known forum for hackers. The dataset contains numbers of WhatsApp users from 84 countries including those of more than 3 million Belgians.
There is now a good chance that cybercriminals will obtain this data and use it to carry out smishing or vishing attacks.
What to do if you get a suspicious text message?
Smishing is a suspicious text message that contains a link. If you click on the link, you will be directed to a fake website asking for your details or persuaded to download an app or document that contains a virus.
- Never click on a link in a suspicious message, do not open the attachments and do not download applications when prompted.
- Forward suspicious text messages to Safeonweb. Take a screenshot and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to do if you get an unexpected phone call?
Vishing is scamming over the phone. Scammers call you and ask for personal, financial or security information, or they ask to transfer money.
- Never give out personal details, passwords, bank card codes or response codes over the phone.
- Never call back unknown numbers. Never answer calls from numbers you do not know, especially foreign numbers. Definitely do not call these numbers back.
- Don't just believe what people tell you on the phone. A technology company, your bank, the police or the government never ask for your details or codes over the phone.
Have you been scammed?
- If you have lost money or are being extorted, we recommend that you file a report with your local police straight away.
- Contact your bank and/or Card Stop on 078 170 170 (+32 78 170 170 from abroad) if you have passed on bank details, money is disappearing from your bank account or if you have transferred money to a scammer. In this way, any fraudulent transactions can be blocked.