An urgent WhatsApp warning has been issued to all of its two billion users after it emerged a new scam is doing the rounds, trying to encourage people to hand over personal details.
The popular WhatsApp blog WABetaInfo has warned people to be extra vigilant and to exercise caution, Birmingham Live reports.
When you are chatting with a verified contact on WhatsApp, there is a verified badge visible next to the contact name in the conversation screen and on their chat info.
The scam WhatsApp support account does not have this badge on display. Instead, it uses the blue tick in a different place – meaning it is a fake account and trying to get hold of your personal details.
WhatsApp never asks for details about your credit card and information like your six-digit code or two-step verification PIN. If a WhatsApp account is asking you for this, it means it could be a fake account.
WhatsApp is urging users to delete the text and block the number if they receive it. 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.
Victims have lost around £1,950 each on average with the high street bank now issuing a stark warning of things to look out for.
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,