Whatsapp is one of the world’s most popular messaging applications and is used by a large number of Android and Apple users.
You can access it by phone or desktop computer but it is most often used on a smartphone.
Over the years since it’s introduction there have been many Whatsapp scams but this latest one that’s become prevalent in recent months seems to be the most believable if not the most sophisticated. Fortunately as scams get more and more sophisticated each year our tech support teams continue to update their skills and stay one step ahead.
First of all, this scam is happening in every country around the world, just because you live in a first world, developed country don’t think that you are immune to scams.
How does this particular scam work?
You will receive an unexpected text message with a six-digit WhatsApp code. Then you will get a Whatsapp message possibly from one of your contacts who claims to have lost their phone and needed to send a code to someone else so they could get back into their account.
The other possibility is that you will receive a standard text message from someone you don’t know, saying they sent the message to your number by error and asking them to forward you.
The key point to remember is that no matter who it is or what excuse they have, do not give them that number under any circumstances. Even if the message is coming from your Mom’s number, it means their account has already been hacked!
Now for the average person, this may be little more than a minor inconvenience if their whatsapp account gets hacked. However, it can get much more serious than this. Once your account has been hacked the hijacker has access to all of your contacts and the next usual step is for them to send out an SOS message to all of your contacts claiming to have had an emergency and needing help with money. This ranges anywhere from small amounts to thousands of dollars.
One user reported the following scenario, She received a phone call from a man pretending to be her boss. Said he was in trouble and needed her help. The scammer claimed he had sent $50,000 to a bank account in her name and asked her to fly to London for an urgent meeting. Once she arrived, they would split the money 50/50 and she could use it to pay off her debt.
Hacked Business Account
This situation becomes even more serious when a business account is hacked or the account of a Senior manager in a company just like the situation above. It is yet another reason why it is so important to have robust IT security measures in place on all of your devices including smartphones, laptops and computers.
As a trusted IT Support company, we advise all of our clients to follow the recommendations below:
- Don’t reply to SMS messages from numbers you don’t recognise.
- Don’t share your login, personal, or financial details over SMS or any other form of instant messaging (genuine companies will never ask for sensitive information via text message).
- Check the language and communication style of all messages you receive, if they seem unusual, pause to think before replying.
- Be mindful of any messages with an immediate urgency placed on the action.