For days now, some WhatsApp users have been sharing a message claiming they received 20GB of data and XAF6,000 of airtime credit by registering on the following website: i6mn.com/cameroon.
Many users, be them clients of Orange, MTN, Camtel, or Nexxtel, are convinced that the story is true. Yet, it is a phishing scheme.
In a LinkedIn post, Orange Cameroon warns its users as follows: "Dear customers, the site i6mn.com/cameroon is no way related to Orange. We call on greater vigilance from our valued customers not to trust sites that promise you free airtime and internet bundle.”
To learn more, we visited the said website but, on clicking the link, we noticed the website was not secure. There was also no information about the website or its purpose, only a popup asking us to choose our operator. When we chose the operator, we were taken to another webpage asking us the bundle we would like to receive (numerous bundles ranging from XAF6,000 to XAF8,000 for airtime credit and 15GB to 20GB of data are presented).
Curiously enough, the counter supposed to indicate the number of remaining bundles never reached zero. It regularly fluctuated between 1300 and 963. Once we chose our operator and the type of bundle we would like to receive, we were shown a congratulatory message telling us that we had received XAF6,000 of airtime credit and 20Gb of internet credit. It also asked us to share the link via Whatsapp. The only problem here is that we never received the internet and airtime credit we were told we have received.
The same site shows a message claiming that the Cameroonian government has “ordered” the payment of XAF500,000 to every citizen over 18 to support the population affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “To receive your share, just fill in the form below,” the message reads.
This announcement is false because the Cameroonian government ordered no such thing since the confirmation of the first coronavirus case in Cameroon in Mid-March.
When a user fills the required form on the website, a message appears claiming that the latter is eligible for the funding but to get access to the fund, the user will have to share the link in Whatsapp groups. Once you try to share the link, computer antivirus software will flag it as a malicious site.
Computer specialists at Orange Cameroon explain that by clicking on these links, the Internet user may allow the installation of spyware that can control one’s phone or computer. So, by prompting users to share the links, the hackers that created the website can commit fraudulent acts, going as far as hacking into the confidential information of both the user who shared the message and the recipient who clicked the link.