When it comes to messaging apps, there is hardly another app that is as popular and ubiquitous than WhatsApp. Given the fact that billions of users are using the app, it has become the target of malicious scammers looking to fool people and steal their personal information.  Of late a number of WhatsApp related scams have come to light which range from innocuous message forward scams to complex hacks that can track user activity.

A quick low down of few common WhatsApp scams

Fake WhatsApp Technical Team Verification Code scam

In this scam the user typically receives a message from a person with a WhatsApp logo in their personal profile. The scammer is likely to claim that he/she is from the technical team of WhatsApp and would ask you to part with a six digit verification code for WhatsApp.  In case someone is gullible enough to part with the verification code, the scammers would have access to their entire WhatsApp data.  To know more about this scam please check this news article

Fake Bank offers from SBI etc.

India’s largest bank came out with an advisory sometime in March this year which asked users to be careful of WhatsApp messages and inform about transactions that they have not made. The message may include a malicious link which on clicking can install a malware to compromise your phone and steal information and OTP data.

Get Rich Schemes or lottery wins on WhatsApp

These are by far the most common scams going on in India. Basically you are likely to get a message from an unknown individual mentioning that you have won an unknown sum and you would be promised the amount after you deposit a token sum. Absolutely avoid such messages and block such numbers immediately.

whatsapp scam

What does WhatsApp has to say about hoax messages

When it comes to dealing with hoax messages, WhatsApp has tried to actively warn its users to stay clear of such messages. On its website, it clearly informs users about prevalence of such messages. It lists out several scenarios whereby you can determine a message to be a hoax. This includes receiving messages from people who claim that they are affiliated to WhatsApp to messages that apparently promise you a gift or some kind of reward from WhatsApp or any other person. In case you ever receive such messages, the best thing to do is block that user.

Best Practices to follow on WhatsApp and Stay Safe

When you are using WhatsApp it is recommended that you follow few best practices to safeguard your security and privacy:

  1. Stop random people from adding you in WhatsApp groups. Change your settings to ensure only your contacts can add you to a WhatsApp group.
  2. To prevent your account from getting compromised it is recommended that you consider enabling a two-step verification system to login to your account. Thereby even if someone gets access to your phone they will not be able to access your WhatsApp data.
  3. If you feel any random user is trying to bother you by sending spam or objectionable messages, promptly block the user without delay. Never get into a conversation with any suspicious individual on WhatsApp
  4. Always keep your WhatsApp application updated. It is important that you install updates promptly to avoid security vulnerabilities.
  5. Do not click on suspicious links in WhatsApp messages from people. If a link in a message appears suspicious do not click on it.