MULTIPLE police forces in the UK are warning WhatsApp users about scammers that could hijack their accounts.
The scam involves security codes and has existed for a while but is rearing its head again.
Southwark Police tweeted: “We have seen a surge in WhatsApp accounts being hacked, if you are sent a text from WhatsApp with a code on it, don’t share the code with ANYONE no matter who’s asking, or the reason why.”
The old scam involves a message that’s seemingly from your friend.
A usually hacker poses as a friend or someone you may know in order to gain access to your account.
They could then use your account to launch attacks on other people or try and scam them out of money or information.
The attack revolves around the six-digit verification code that WhatsApp gives out when you want to regain access to your account.
It also involves a hacker taking control of one of your contact’s WhatsApp accounts and messaging you pretending to be them.
The hacker will message pretending to be your friend around the same time you get a text or email from WhatsApp with a verification code that the hacker has requested by pretending to be you.
This code is only given when you try and make changes to your account.
The hacker – posing as your friend – will pretend they’ve accidentally asked for the verification code to be sent to your number and will ask you to send it over.
You should never share the six-digit code with anyone.
If you do, the hacker will be able to take over your account.
You’ll no longer have access to your account and the hacker can try and scam your friends and read your private messages.
If you do get a suspicious message from a friend, try ringing them to see if you can talk to them in person and verify what is going on.
It’s also advisable to turn on two-step verification so your WhatsApp is also protected by a PIN.
WhatsApp – a quick history
Here’s what you need to know…
- WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
- It’s one of the most popular messaging services in the world
- Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “what’s up”
- After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
- It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast. Then in 2016, it became free again for all users
- Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
- The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
- As of 2020, WhatsApp has over 2billion users globally
Most read in Phones & Gadgets
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