Whatsapp is a safe and convenient modern communication tool, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never encounter fraud on Whatsapp. At some point, all of us will receive a Whatsapp scam message, which is why you need to familiarize yourself with the warning signs to stay safe.
Can You Get Scammed on Whatsapp?
Whatsapp scam and fraud cases are rising. Stolen phones, malicious links, and vigilant friends and family can lead to your Whatsapp number being leaked. One of the most nefarious scams on Whatsapp saw accounts being hijacked, with scammers asking friends and family in the contact list for money or assistance.
Fortunately, unlikely other forms of scamming, scams with Whatsapp are easy to spot and prevent. Whatsapp isn’t linked to your bank account, so no one can use Whatsapp to steal your money unless you give away too much information willingly!
What Is An Example of a Whatsapp Scam Message?
There are several Whatsapp scams doing the rounds. Knowing what they look like will go a long way towards protecting you and your family.
The Mod Message
There is a scam version of Whatsapp doing the rounds. You may get invited to download the new Whatsapp with exciting new features and greater customization.
When you install this “new version” with its extra features, it installs malware onto your phone. This malware launches ads, purchases subscriptions, intercepts your texts, and exposes your information to hackers. This version looks legitimate and has been built by experienced techies.
A good rule of thumb is never to download software that isn’t from the official app store or company site.
The latest scam shows nefarious users posing as people you may know. You might receive a message reading, “Hey Mom, it’s me. I accidentally dropped my phone in the bath, and this is my new number.”
The message is vague in order to get more information from the victim. In this example, you may respond to the scammer by asking, “Is this Emma or Joey?” The scammer will reply with a name. A few days later, they will ask you for a loan stating that they’ve run into car trouble or something similar.
Most people won’t hesitate to help out a friend or family member, but if they ask you for money, it’s always a good idea to give them a call (on the new and old number) asking for confirmation.
Delivery Text Scams
Sometimes cyber criminals pose as delivery companies that ask victims to click on a link that then takes them to a website used to phish their banking details or other sensitive information to view their invoice or receive their package. With so many people shopping online, this has become a common trick. Never enter your banking or credit details on a site that you don’t know, and always keep malware-detecting antivirus programs on your personal computers to keep you safe.
How to Avoid Whatsapp Scams
While it isn’t always easy avoiding scams, there are steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Don’t give your number to individuals you don’t know.
- Make sure that your number isn’t visible on Facebook.
- Don’t publicly post your number on the Internet, e.g., Craigslist, Marketplace.
- Don’t respond to numbers you don’t know on Whatsapp and block suspicious numbers.
- Use a service like Radaris to look up unknown numbers that contact you to confirm your identity.
- Don’t click on links that are sent to you via Whatsapp.
- Never share banking or credit card information via Whatsapp.
- Only download and use legitimate versions of the Whatsapp app by using legitimate app stores.
- If someone states they are a friend or a coworker using a new number, try to verify their identity by giving them a call or messaging the “old” number to check whether they really did switch numbers.
- Never share your Whatsapp pin with anyone – even close friends and family.
Whatsapp is a safe tool that is easy to use, but you have to be able to spot a Whatsapp scam message when you receive one. Don’t hesitate to block or report numbers you feel may belong to scammers or cybercriminals, and stay vigilant at all times.