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Who are you talking to on WhatsApp?

5 mins reading time – Protect yourself

Publicerad: 2023-01-23

Senast ändrad: 2023-02-09

WhatsApp is an app used to communicate with others through text, images, and video calls, and is an encrypted service. The target group is usually slightly older users, as younger people tend to use Snapchat, TikTok, and Discord. As with all other social media platforms, scams and frauds also happen on WhatsApp – here we tell you about the most common methods employed by fraudsters.

Scams on WhatsApp

Account hijacking

One very common method used by fraudsters on WhatsApp is to hijack an account by gaining access to the account’s verification code. This is how it can work:

  1. The fraudster obtains the victim’s phone number.
  2. The fraudster (re)installs WhatsApp on their phone or another device.
  3. The criminal contacts the victim and claims to be an acquaintance of theirs.
  4. The WhatsApp fraudster lies to the victim, claiming to have sent their verification code to the victim by mistake.
  5. The fraudster tricks the victim into giving them the verification code, which they then key into their own phone, giving them access to the victim’s WhatsApp account and all the victim’s contacts.
Tricks by fraudsters on WhatsApp

Too good to be true

Amazing offers or prizes are also effective methods used by fraudsters to trick their way into obtaining personal information on WhatsApp. The user receives a message claiming to contain a prize or an “amazing offer” and is told to click on a link. If the user clicks on the link, they are taken to a fake website, where they are told to enter their personal informationto claim the “prize” or the “special offer”. Thereafter, this personal information is passed on to fraudsters to be used in criminal activities. The user never receives any prize or special offer.

[Fraudsters trick users through WhatsApp update]

“Listen”

Another method used by fraudsters is voice messages. The fraudster sends someone a voice message. When a voice message is sent and the message function is opened, the “Play” button is there as usual. But when this comes from a fraudster, the “Play” button is not what it claims to be. When you click on the button in the belief that you will be listening to a voice message, malware is instead downloaded onto your phone. You must never click on any links in messages.

[Younger people tricked by fraudsters on WhatsApp]

Update to Gold

Fraudsters can also tempt users with an upgrade to the app in the form of WhatsApp Gold, which claims to provide access to features and services that do not exist. When the user clicks on the link, they are taken to a fake website that downloads malware to the phone. Primarily the Android operating system has been hit by this scam. WhatsApp never sends out updates to users via messages. If you have been tricked, there is antivirus software available that can help you remove malware.

[Younger people tricked by fraudsters on WhatsApp]

Younger users

But there are also younger people and children using WhatsApp. Common scams often aimed at younger users involve “friends” or a “friend of a friend” sending a message telling the victim to add the friend with a “new” number. But as soon as the user clicks on the new number, they are taken to a porn site. It is incredibly important that parents talk to their children about using WhatsApp and social media in general, about the risks that exist, and what they should consider when using social media.

What you should look out for:

  • Errors in spelling and grammar.
  • If you are told to click on a link.
  • If someone tells you to share your personal information.
  • If someone tells you to forward a message to others.
  • If you receive an offer to update your WhatsApp app.
  • If someone tells you to pay for WhatsApp in any way. It is a free app.

Find out more about security on WhatsApp:

https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/security-and-privacy/staying-safe-on-whatsapp/

https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/security-and-privacy/account-security-tips/

https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/security-and-privacy/hoax-messages/