In recent years, WhatsApp has become increasingly popular and the instant messaging app now has over 2 billion users, but this growth means that it’s also become a prime target for scammers.
From messages impersonating family and friends, to offers of fake vouchers and prizes, there are many ways that scammers could use WhatsApp for sinister purposes.
But scam messages can be incredibly difficult to spot and new types of scams are constantly evolving.
Luckily, there are some ways that you can identify a spam message on WhatsApp.
Cyber-expert Tom Davidson, who is a senior director at security firm Lookout, told The Sun about three types of messages to look out for when it comes to identifying scams.
Messages from unknown contacts
Receiving a message from an unknown sender who is trying to get you to interact with them can be a sign of a scam.
This is particularly true if the message also has spelling errors.
You should also be wary of messages from your contacts that sound different, as this could be a scammer impersonating them.
Messages with unsolicited offers
Another type of common scam message is one that comes with a type of unsolicited offer such as a free giveaway, prize drawer or discount.
Even if it appears to come from a reputable brand, these messages can still be a scam and can be used as a way to get personal information from you.
Unexpected messages with clickable links
You should be wary of any messages that have a clickable link that you were not expecting.
Sometimes cyber-attackers will use special characters to disguise a dodgy link that may look familiar or reputable at first glance.
Instead of clicking any links, you should manually type the link out into another browser to check it.
How to block spam messages on WhatsApp
If you identify a message that looks suspicious, then WhatsApp advises you to report the message, block the contact who sent it, and then delete the message.
To block the contact you should go to the message, click the contact on the top of the page and tap “Block contact”. Once you have blocked the contact they won’t be able to send you any more spam messages.
You should not forward any suspicious messages to other contacts.
Should I reply to an unknown WhatsApp message?
If you get a message from an unknown person, or you believe that a message you’ve received might be a scam, then you should not reply to it.
Scammers will often try to get you to interact with them so that they can get personal information from you and by replying to these types of messages you end up supplying important personal information to a stranger.