Two billion WhatsApp users are being urged to check one key detail today after it emerged that a new scam, which is encouraging people to hand over personal details, has emerged.
WABetaInfo, the WhatsApp blog has warned users to be ‘extra vigilant’ amid the reports. There is one crucial detail that users are being told to watch out for, The Mirror reports.
To ensure you are chatting with a verified contact on WhatsApp, users are being told to check there is a verified badge visible next to the contact name, which can be found in the conversation screen and on their chat info.
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The scam WhatsApp support account does not display this badge. Instead, it uses the blue tick in a different place – this means it is a fake account trying to get hold of your personal details.
Users are reminded WhatApp would never ask for details about your credit card or any other personal information such as your six-digit code or two-step verification PIN. If a WhatsApp account is asking you for this, it is likely to be a fake account.
If you do receive a message like this that you suspect to be a fake account, Whatsapp’s advice is to delete the text and block the number. Users have been reminded never to hand over security codes, passwords or a PIN to anyone – not even friends or family, as well as to make sure two-step verification is set up.
People should also beware of messages asking for money, according to experts who have advised users to check identities and try to verify who you are talking to if in any doubt.
The number of WhatsApp scams has soared by 2,000% in the last year alone, according to research by Lloyds Bank. Fraudsters are turning to the instant messaging app more and more in their efforts to con people out of their hard earned cash. During the pandemic between 2020 and 2021, the total number increased twenty-fold, analysis shows.
Lloyds Bank warned customers in March about WhatsApp fraudsters and said that messages can seem “very personal”. Scammers do not even need to know the person’s name and will often use the pretence of being a family member who has lost their phone, referring to themselves as “mum” or “dad” instead.
A spokesperson for Lloyds Bank said: “The story they tell varies but most often they will claim that because it is a new phone, they don’t have access to their internet or mobile banking account, and therefore they need urgent help with paying a bill.”
The banking giant also issued a list of guidance for people to stay safe from scammers. This includes being wary of messages from unknown numbers and not rushing into anything.