Deception schemes in messengers

The experts of Roskatchestvo Digital Expertise Center tell about common fraud schemes via popular messengers, so that users were not caught by them.


WhatsApp and Telegram users are often the target of fraudsters. Scammers are attracted by the ease of sending instant messages, the cheapness of the deception process and the inability of service creators to fully control the sent content. Popular apps lure cybercriminals, and time after time they find security holes in apps to send malware, spam and lure money. Most deception schemes can be divided into five options.

Chats and groups

Cybercriminals infiltrate various thematic chats and create copies of accounts of their participants. There were cases in groups of apartment owners in large housing estates when phishers sent personal messages to tenants from clone accounts allegedly from neighbors with a request to lend money.

Messages from bank representative

Fraudsters make a messenger profile look like a banking organization: they display a corporate avatar and indicate the position and name of an employee. Under various pretexts, they send messages and even make video calls to potential victims.

Sergey Kuzmenko, Senior Digital Product Testing Specialist at Roskachestvo:

“To identify the impostors, compare the information from the official website of the bank. Fraudulent accounts often have obvious differences from the original. Swindlers use bank names as bait, making misprints on purpose: Onllinesberbank, Online.sbrbank and the like. Avatars may contain blurred images or outdated bank logos.”.

Mass mailings

The user receives a link in the message by clicking on which he unwittingly grants the scammer access to his personal data. According to Avast, 45% of Americans encountered phishing in 2021. In order to motivate a person to click on a phishing link, attackers use a variety of methods and psychological tricks. For example, drawings and contests: “Congratulations! Your number was randomly selected and you were the winner of a prize draw. Follow this link to confirm your participation”. Same in messages about subsidies and welfare payments.

Fake trading platforms

This is more true for Telegram. You may receive links-invitations allegedly from media personalities to join chats and channels for the sale of goods and services, as well as from fake publishers of brand stores. You may be lured by discounts and promotions through a link that turns out to be a phishing scam.

Registration of microloans

In some microfinance organizations you can get money with just your phone number. Fraudsters contact victim in messenger and ask for information from incoming SMS. With the help of extracted information and is issued a microcredit.

Sergey Bodrov, Head of Roskachevo Digital Expertise Center:

“Who has the information, has the situation. Safeguard yourself by improving your digital literacy and staying up to date on fraud trends. Under no circumstances should you comply with the demands of fraudulent persons to make any financial transactions on the Internet, give them the information from incoming SMS or pass them your personal information. You can always pause communication and double-check the information on the official site of the organization, bank or store to be sure who really contacted you”


Roskachestvo urges to remain vigilant and increase personal awareness online. A critical attitude and common sense will help to save your money, data and nerves.

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