WHATSAPP is one of the safest chatting apps you can use but that doesn’t stop hackers and scammers trying to catch you out on it.
Here’s the three most dangerous WhatsApp scams we’ve spotted in the past month.
Hacked version of WhatsApp
Cyber-security experts recently warned about a dodgy version of WhatsApp that exposes its users to hackers.
The WhatsApp “mod” – an unofficial version of the chat app that grants users additional features – invites dangerous malware into your phone.
That malware can launch ads, purchase subscriptions, and intercept your texts, according to researchers at Russian security outfit Kaspersky Labs.
The popular WhatsApp messenger mod exposed by the team is called FMWhatsapp.
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WhatsApp mods add features to the stock messaging app that allow for greater customisation, privacy, security and more.
They’re built by tech whizzes who aren’t associated with the Facebook-owned company. WhatsApp encourages users not to download them.
To avoid falling victim to similar scams, Kaspersky recommended that users only download software from the official app stores.
Users should also carefully check the permissions sought by the apps.
Money stealing WhatsApp scam
Earlier this month, WhatsApp users were warned about a scam that could see criminals steal thousands from them.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has been warning people about the fraud that involves a scammer posing as someone you know.
An example of the scam has been given by the CTSI in a statement on its website.
It revealed: “A member of the public named Alison received a message on the popular messaging platform WhatsApp: “Hi mum, I’ve dropped my phone down the loo (sad emoji) this is my new number.”
“Alison replied to the message and asked if it was her son, Will, to which the scammer replied in the affirmative.
“The very next day, Alison’s ‘son’ messaged her asking for £2,600 and explained that he had got mixed up with loan sharks and needed to pay up. Alison didn’t doubt the message for a moment.”
Fortunately, Alison realised that this was a scam before it was too late.
You should always speak to a friend or family member over the phone if you ever get a suspicious message from them asking for money.
Fake delivery WhatsApp scam
The team at anti-virus provider Kaspersky Lab have been urging people to be on their guard when opening texts claiming to be about deliveries.
Attackers typically pose as online delivery companies and ask their victims to click on a link that takes them to a dodgy website.
From here, the visitor is urged to plug in their bank details, credit card details or other sensitive information.
Kaspersky explained the deluge of WhatsApp scams in a report.
“Unexpected parcels requiring payment by the recipient remained one of the most common tricks this past quarter,” Kaspersky wrote.
“The reason for the invoice from the ‘mail company’ could be anything from customs duties to shipment costs.
“When trying to pay for the service, as with compensation fraud, victims were taken to a fake website, where they risked not only losing the amount itself (which could be far higher than specified in the email), but also spilling their bank card details.”
Researchers said it’s likely a result of the huge growth in the popularity of home deliveries during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company recommended that users always check links in WhatsApp messages and emails before interacting with them.
The company also urged people to install a comprehensive security solution to make sure they’re protected from the latest threats.
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