WhatsApp users have been placed back on red alert after the resurgence of a shocking scam that can give hackers full access to phones.
All WhatsApp users should be on the lookout for a very convincing text that’s making an unwanted return. The cyber experts at Action Fraud UK say they have begun receiving reports that chat app fans are once again being targeted by the dreaded six-digit code text.
This scam isn’t actually new with hackers using it in the past to try and get full access to devices and the personal content that’s stored on them. If you’ve never heard of this threat before then it’s easy to see how people are being easily fooled.
The trick begins when you receive a message from an actual friend starting what appears to be a normal chat with you. At the same time, a six-digit code will suddenly appear on your device.
At this point, the friend will say that the code has been sent to your device in error and please could you forward it to them.
If this happens to you, stop and end the conversation at once. It’s almost certain that the friend messaging you has already been hacked and you will be next if the code is sent.
The scam works because WhatsApp won’t let a new device access an account unless it’s been verified via that randomly generated six-digit code. It’s these numbers the hackers need in order to access your WhatsApp account.
As soon as you send them the code, WhatsApp believes that it’s a genuine attempt to log in to your account and will enable the chat on the hackers’ smartphone. As far as your contacts are concerned, the online crooks are now you and can continue to send texts in your WhatsApp conversations, or group chats.
Using this method, criminals could also target friends and family asking for money via Paypal links. Users also often find themselves locked out of their own WhatsApp account for hours making it hard to warn people that they have been targeted.
Action fraud has now released some vital advice that all WhatsApp users should know to avoid becoming a victim of this attack.
What you need to do
• Set up two-step verification to give an extra layer of protection to your account: Tap Settings > Account >Two-step verification > Enable.
• THINK. CALL. If a family member or friend makes an unusual request on WhatsApp, always call the person to confirm their identity.
• Never share your account’s activation code (that’s the 6 digit code you receive via SMS)
• You can report spam messages or block a sender within WhatsApp. Press and hold on the message bubble, select ‘Report’ and then follow the instructions.
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