WhatsApp – the most popular messaging app owned by Meta Incorporated, formerly known as Facebook, Inc. Currently, WhatsApp has a vast client base counting around two billion users globally. With that number of users, it’s apparent that it will be a target of scams. Scammers on WhatsApp want to steal your data to use it for fraudulent purposes, install malware on your device to ransom, or pretend to be someone to get money from you. So check what should trigger red lights to avoid WhatsApp scams and stay safe online.
Check the most common WhatsApp Scams:
- Impersonation – Scam on mom or dad
- Dating app scams
- WhatsApp Verification code scam
- Security scam
Impersonation – Scam on mom or dad
This scam has been known for a long time and is the most common because it is the easiest to perform. The impersonation scam means that the scammer pretends to be someone from your family, in most cases a child or grandson, because they can find out if you have kids and how old they are. So they can pretend to be your family member, claiming that their cellphone broke and they use a temporary one from the service or friend. Therefore, your “son or daughter” doesn’t have access to any app and, unfortunately, needs to pay an urgent bill and has to ask you for some funds.
This scam is very popular because it uses relationships and emotions to convince you to pay.
Dating app scams
Do you feel lonely, looking for love or a partner? Watch out. Scammers will use your emotions to lull your vigilance and establish closer contact via WhatsApp. Usually, such acquaintance starts with dating apps. Once he gets in touch with you via WhatsApp, he’ll start talking about cryptocurrencies, the market, and how he or his friend found an excellent deal online. Usually, this offer requires you to invest a deposit on the trading page. As you can expect, after you transfer funds to your supposed investment account, depending on the amount, either the scammer will block you and be unreachable, or he will persuade you to make a more significant investment to help you multiply the benefits.
WhatsApp Verification code scam
If you succumb to this scam, you will allow your WhatsApp account to be hijacked. The scammer will try to log into your account to force a 6-digit verification code to confirm your identity. He will then send you an apology message stating that he made a mistake by putting your phone number and that you received his verification code by mistake. Then, he will ask you to redirect that code to him. Often, the scammer will pretend to be your friend or family member to be credible. Therefore, you may have become a target if you receive a verification code for no reason. Be vigilant.
Why do scammers use WhatsApp?
The main reason is the popularity of WhatsApp. The world’s most popular messaging app attracts scammers who are opportunists and will use everything possible to catch someone out. Therefore, scammers take advantage of WhatsApp to reach out to potential victims. Moreover, WhatsApp helps them to manage their scam activity because, in most cases, all the scammer victims are on the same app, in this case, WhatsApp.
How can you protect yourself from WhatsApp scammers?
First of all, the key is knowing about the potential threat. Now, thanks to Use Secure VPN, you know there is a risk of scammers using WhatsApp for their cybercriminal activity. This gives you the power to defend yourself because you will be able to recognize signs of a scam in progress. This will make you less vulnerable to those scams.
Nevertheless, you can implement some basic techniques to protect yourself from falling victim to a WhatsApp scam.
- Stay away from messages asking for money. Avoiding messages about the urgent need for money is generally a good tip, not only for WhatsApp scams. If you decide to read this type of message, try to analyze it to find out if the request for money is legitimate, check if they speak about it in some strange way, and if you can find this request in other media, not just WhatsApp. That way, you might be able to recognize if this is a scam. Sometimes, you might be able to help someone in need, but be careful.
- Set up two-factor authentication. This setting will help to protect you in case you have already reacted to the scam action. This setting will protect your account because scammers don’t or shouldn’t have access to your mobile, so they will not be able to steal your WhatsApp identity.
- Time-limit messages. It’s like marketing – scammers might want to use time scarcity to force you to react fast. This way, you might not have time to analyze the situation and give your money too fast. Remember that the more urgent request in a WhatsApp message, the more likely you are to be the target of a scam.
- Ask the scammer questions. Never react without confidence, knowing who you are chatting with, what that person’s intentions are, and if he really needs your help. If you ask them difficult personal or sensitive questions, they might start chasing their tail, not knowing what to answer. The best questions to confirm the interlocutor’s identity are those that only the person can answer that potential scammer tries to pretend. Make sure that the scammer can not find the answers by conducting thorough research on social media or anywhere else. Ask simple but personal questions about the first girlfriend/boyfriend’s name, where they met, or something similar.
I think I have been scammed on WhatsApp – what should I do now?
Don’t worry if you noticed that you were a victim of a WhatsApp scam. Please don’t delete your WhatsApp because it will not help. Now you know what you can expect so you will not make the same mistake again.
Nevertheless, change all of your passwords and tighten your cybersecurity. Getting a password manager to generate and manage complicated passwords that nobody can guess or find out using high-tech software or hardware might be helpful. Next, configure two-factor authentication and use a VPN to keep your online privacy.
If you were a victim, report a WhatsApp scam.
Even though you will not get your money back as a victim of a WhatsApp scam, you might save yourself in the future or others from the same loss. That way, you might help. Hopefully, thanks to your report, no one else will fall victim.
To do that, use your phone (iPhone or Android) and follow the steps below:
- Open WhatsApp “Settings”
- Click on the “Help” section
- Select the “Contact Us”
- Submit a report regarding the scam
Maintaining good cybersecurity routines and keeping your devices updated and well configured to protect yourself from cybercriminals is good prevention. Scams are tricky, and no software nor configuration will prevent them. Therefore stay vigilant and make sure you don’t reveal too much information. Keep your privacy on the highest level.