WhatsApp users are being warned not to fall victim to a scam that can allow hackers to view their messages and take over their accounts.
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world with an estimated two billion users.
Consumer watchdog charity Which? – who retweeted the warning yesterday – told users not to fall for the “nasty” scam which can allow hackers to steal their contacts’ identities.
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Posting on its website, the consumer watchdog said victims of the scam first receive an unexpected but “genuine” message from WhatsApp containing a verification code.
This is usually triggered when logging into the app for the first time after being logged out or trying to log on to the messaging app from a new device.
Which? said: “But in the case of this scam, fraudsters have entered your number into WhatsApp themselves to try to get access to your account, triggering the verification code text.”
Following this, one of your WhatsApp contacts will message you via the app, asking you to give them the verification code you’ve just received.
Which? said: “Because the message seems to be from a relative or friend, a lot of people have been tricked into passing on the verification code, which then allows fraudsters to take over their accounts.”
Adding: “We’ve heard that scammers have identified their victims’ closest contacts from their message history and have asked them for money or sensitive information.
“They could also find out personal details about you and your contacts from your messages. This information could be used to access other important accounts, target you with more scams, or even blackmail you.”
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To keep your WhatsApp account safe, Which? advise:
- Don’t share your login details or verification code with anybody. Not your closest family or trusted friends.
- Set up two-step verification to secure your account.
- Be wary of WhatsApp messages requesting money, even if they come from your contacts. If you’re not sure, give the friend a quick call to check.
The watchdog also recommends that if you think you may have been tricked into handing over sensitive details, such as payment information, to let your bank know what has happened straight away.
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