A new phishing campaign on WhatsApp is defrauding individuals who want to work in the UK.
as documented by Malwarebytesthe operators of the system send messages claiming to be from the UK government, offering a free visa and other benefits to individuals wishing to move to the country.
The scam starts with messages being sent to numbers through the WhatsApp mobile messaging platform. Recipients are told the UK will need more than 132,000 additional workers by 2022, which is why the government is running a recruitment campaign, with over 186,000 job openings available.
While cold-call messages about visas are a red flag in their own right, the phishing attempt doesn’t stop there. The scam reads:
THE PROGRAM COVER: Travel expenses. Housing. Accommodation. Medical facilities. Applicant must be 16 years of age or older. Can speak basic English.
PROGRAM BENEFIT: Immediate work permit. Visa application assistance. All nationalities can register. Open to all individuals and students who wish to work and study. Submit your candidacy here”
If a victim clicks through, they are presented with a rogue domain disguised as a UK Visas and Immigration website. Foreigners are asked to “apply to thousands of jobs already available in the UK”.
The website aims to collect visitors’ personal information, including their names, email addresses, phone numbers, marital and employment status.
Whatever a user submits, the free application form is automatically ‘approved’ and told that they will “get a work permit, visa, airfare and accommodation in the UK for free”.
None of this is, of course, true.
As with many regular phishing scams, their operators will then attempt to obtain even more information and often attempt to monetize victims.
The visa applicants will be informed that their next form will be available once they have invited 15 friends or five groups on WhatsApp to “notify” others about the program. In the final step, users are redirected to other websites, including those that sell drones and quiz websites that ask for personal information, including phone numbers.
Visa-themed phishing scams are a common theme in the cyber-attack landscape. A similar scam made the rounds in recent months to lure people to work or study in the UK.
“Overall, this is another ‘if it seems too good to be true’ escapade and should be avoided,” Malwarebytes noted.
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