The expert warned about the risks from Telegram channels about payments and benefits

Expert Lazareva: Telegram channels about payments and benefits pose data collection risks for Russians

A number of Telegram channels informing about benefits, payments, subsidies and government social support measures can use bots to collect personal data of Russians, form them into databases, and then sell them to scammers, RIA Novosti said the head of the Popular Front project “For the Rights of Borrowers”, coordinator platform “Moshelovka” Evgeny Lazarev. 

Since the end of 2022, Moshelovka experts have come to the attention of several newborn Telegram channels on social, financial and economic topics, which are rapidly gaining a live audience, the expert said.

“We are most concerned about the fact that, despite the potentially useful content of these Telegram channels (let’s put aside the skepticism about fakes in advertising integrations, perhaps this is such a marketing ploy), they are all closed, and become their subscriber, read their content , is possible only after the approval of the administrators. And along with the channel, a bot is also added, which, allegedly, will send notifications and algorithms to receive benefits from the state,” the expert said.

The fact is that such methods are mainly used by spammers and intruders who collect data about users, Lazareva explained. When the bot is activated, the user is asked to answer a series of questions in order to allegedly receive payments or benefits. This is done under the pretext that the neural network has determined the solution for each individual situation.

“This is how the bot owners get access to personal data and significant information, which is then formed into databases and can be sold or used against a citizen for fraud purposes. This is a very well-thought-out move from the point of view of psychology,” the expert noted.

Lazareva also drew attention to the content of advertisements for these resources, which are placed in other channels to attract an audience – they do not pass a simple fact check. “For example, one of these publications mentions a one-time one-time payment for citizens who were born between 1950 and 1991. But in fact, such a support measure does not exist in Russia,” the expert said.

In another advertising post, it is stated that, by presidential decree, a system has been launched to notify the population about cash payments. “And, indeed, in Russia there is a database of the Unified State Social Security Information System, which, interacting with the Gosuslug portal, allows you to notify citizens about the payments they are due. However, this tool appeared back in 2020, and it is available to all users of the portal” Gosuslug” with a verified account,” Lazareva explained.

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