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16 Jan 2018
Tlkkie or Tikkie? One letter makes all the difference

Scammers have hijacked the trusted name of the Tikkie app in a new phishing scam. Tikkie is a payment service launched by Dutch bank ABN AMRO. It allows consumers to send payment requests via WhatsApp.

The scammers are operating on the online trading site Marktplaats. They have created a counterfeit Tikkie website, which looks very similar to the real site in terms of colours, layout and web address. Instead of tikkie.me, the con artists are using tlkkie.nl, with an ‘l’ replacing the first ‘i’. The address ends with the extension .nl instead of .me. Here are screenshots of the fake and original websites:

The counterfeit website The authentic Tikkie website

How the scammers operate
Potential victims are lured to the phishing site via the Marktplaats trading platform. It goes like this:

  • Someone who has placed an advertisement on Marktplaats receives a response from an interested buyer (the scammer) via WhatsApp. They quickly agree on a price and strike a deal, or so it seems.
  • Next, the buyer asks for the name of the seller’s bank.
  • The buyer explains that he has had some bad experiences with Marktplaats because of scams. To make sure that he is not duped again, he asks the seller to transfer a single eurocent to his account. This, he says, will let him know who he is dealing with.
  • He sends the seller a hyperlink via WhatsApp. The link appears to direct to the Tikkie payment service.
  • In reality the link is fake. If the seller pays, their user credentials and payment data will be intercepted by the crook. No cent will be paid, that was just an excuse. The whole story was crafted to give the scammer the information he needs to access the seller’s bank account.

Advice
Always be very suspicious if a buyer asks you to transfer 1 eurocent. That is never necessary. If for some other reason you don’t trust a buyer, just cancel the deal.