Everyone is talking about the 9-euro ticket. Now criminals apparently also want to benefit from this. In fake messages from Deutsche Bahn, they promise an extra subsidy of 2,000 euros. And want to lure users into the trap.
It is an action that is intended to help the climate and relieve the wallets of inflation-stricken citizens: As of today, you can use almost all of Germany’s local public transport system for a small price with the so-called 9-euro ticket. Fraudsters now want to take advantage of the great interest in it. And try to make a profit from it via Whatsapp.
The message arrives unsuspiciously as a forward from an acquaintance. According to the portal “Biallo”, the railway should pay every citizen a transport subsidy of 2,000 euros. Next to it is the well-known Deutsche Bahn logo. But whoever clicks on the link does not end up with the largest German railway operator, but on a fraud site.
Supposed train page with pitfalls
At first glance, it looks deceptively real. In the typical railway combination of red and white, with a large “Deutsche Bahn” banner at the top and the drop-down menu at the top right, it is extremely close to the original. The way to the tempting subsidy is not long: you only have to fill out a questionnaire, they say. That’s not a challenge. The first question is simply: “Do you know Deutsche Bahn?” Once the easy questions have been answered, it’s time for the alleged lottery: you have to click on one of three packages to find the “prize”. With three tries, that’s not a problem either. Then comes the step through which the recipients first got the message: you should forward it to your friends.
Only those who have selected 20 Whatsapp friends or five groups come to the last page, where you are supposed to collect your winnings. Anyone who then notices in good time that the next page is suddenly about something completely different, such as winning the billionth Google search, may no longer fall into the trap themselves. But it’s far too late to row back: the scam has already been passed on to friends and acquaintances.
Read here why Whatsapp chain letters are more dangerous than you think
This is how you should behave
Exactly what lurks behind the final trap varies. The scammers appear to be playing different pages to different users, which they land on in the last step. It obviously depends on various aspects such as the operating system, the device used, but possibly also the Internet connection or the location. In addition to data theft for marketing scams or subsequent fraud attempts, contamination of the device with malware is also conceivable, and subscription traps have also been the target of scams of this type time and again in the past.
Ultimately, the best course of action is to simply delete chain letters like this one – and never forward them or even give any data to the scammers. If it is too late, you should contact the Whatsapp contacts and point out your mistake. If you have already published data or even taken out a subscription, you should contact consumer protection. If you provide bank or account details, you should urgently notify the bank concerned. In some cases, a police report is also appropriate.
Not a new phenomenon
The scam is reminiscent of the heyday of Whatsapp and Facebook chain letters a few years ago. At that time, not a week went by without one or more new scams trying to lure users with a chain letter. In the last few months, warnings of fraud attempts via Whatsapp have increased enormously. Most recently, in March, the LKA Schleswig-Holstein warned of a huge wave of fraud via the messenger. In the northernmost federal state alone, more than 100,000 euros had already been damaged.
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