In an effort to drive awareness around online safety, WhatsApp’s recent marketing campaign titled ‘Stay safe with WhatsApp’ aims to educate users on product features and safety measures on WhatsApp that empower users to take control of their safety and security – online.
User safety being at the core of WhatsApp, the company is raising awareness about its product features and tools that can help users stay safe from online scams and frauds. While scammers can be convincing and persistent, it is important for consumers to remain vigilant.
The safety campaign reinforces the message of staying safe and exercising caution to ensure a safer messaging experience. Here are some key safety features on WhatsApp and best practices for users to stay safe from messaging scams and to protect their friends and family.
- Turn on Two-Step Verification: WhatsApp allows users to add an extra layer of security to their account by enabling the Two-Step Verification feature, which requires a six-digit PIN when resetting and verifying your WhatsApp account. Two-step verification safeguards your account against phishing attacks and takeover attempts by scammers.
- Block and Report suspicious accounts: Reporting suspicious messages is an important step to effectively combat scams. For instance, WhatsApp provides a convenient way to report suspicious accounts. If the message is from an unknown person asking for unusual information or with an odd request, contact the organisation or person directly for clarification and, in the meantime, avoid sending any money or sharing any personal information. Unlike traditional SMS or other platforms, WhatsApp gives you the option to block and report the sender right away to break the cycle of scams. Users may also receive calls from unknown international or domestic phone numbers, do not answer these calls and block and report such accounts.
- Adjust Group privacy settings: WhatsApp’s privacy setting and group invite system allow users to decide who can add them to groups, increasing user privacy and preventing people from adding you to groups you don’t want to be a part of. If you find yourself in a group chat that seems suspicious, you can choose to exit the group and report it.
- Privacy settings to control who sees your personal details: Users can control their personal details such as – Profile Photo, Last Seen, Online status, About, Status, and who sees it – everyone, contacts only, select contacts, or no one. You can also control your online presence by selecting who can and can’t see when you’re online, for the times you want to keep your online presence private. Keeping your personal details visible to only your contacts can help safeguard your account against bad actors.
- Do not share your personal information with anyone: We transact within the online world daily and thus protecting our personal information and privacy is essential when using the internet. Avoid sharing sensitive information such as your address, phone number, passwords, credit/ debit card numbers, and bank account information.
- Stop and think before you act: Scammers often create a false sense of urgency, tricking unsuspecting individuals into giving up sensitive information. They also use impersonation (pretending to a person or organisation you would trust) and often send fake phishing links. When you receive a text or request that looks suspicious, don’t act right away. Stop and take five before you respond, think if this an unusual request, and avoid clicking suspicious, unverified links.