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Beware: WhatsApp Scam

By Scam Awareness | August 26, 2015

As a popular text messaging app, WhatsApp has been used all over the world, allowing people to exchange messages regardless of what country they are in. WhatsApp uses already-bought internet data to send the messages, so there are no additional costs.  Recently, a bunch of WhatsApp Scams have popped up with users in several different countries. Here is what to look out for:

WhatsApp Upgrade SMS

An SMS is sent to users phones warning them that they have not updated the latest "WhatsApp add-ons" and will provide a URL. Once a user has clicked on a link, the user will be sent to a screen to "Update your wall 4 WhatsApp" which is really a subscription for a social network that charges a daily fee.  Be sure always read the fine print!

Fake Contact Fraud

For this scam, WhatsApp users will receive a message showing a contact attachment, with a message urging the user to call the number shown. This number is generally an international number, designed to incur a significant amount of costs when used. Don't call the number! This is how costs are incurred.

WhatsApp Pop-Up Update

These pop-up windows will appear while the user is browsing the Internet, announcing that the user needs to update WhatsApp. By clicking on the link, the device can be infected by malware. Make sure to only update WhatsApp through the application's setting menu.

WhatsApp Subscription "Competition"

This "competition" will appear in a user's WhatsApp inbox. It leads the user through a series of different screens, each linking to a new page and closer to the "prize" which is advertised as a Galaxy S6. The final screen requests for the user to enter his/her phone number and to click, "Yes, I Want," which sends a SMS message to the phone. When a "Yes" reply is sent, the user is then subscribed to a daily charging service.  Remember not to click on external pop-ups. These will most likely lead to malware!

WhatsApp Voice Calling Invitation

As the WhatsApp voice calling service became available, it allowed for another opportunity for scammers to download malware onto a user's device. A message may appear from with an invitation to try the "WhatsApp Free Voice Calling Feature" and asks to click on the button to activate. This will take the user to a survey which to needs software and application downloads to complete. These downloads will lead to malware on the device. Don't let anything download onto your device that you don't trust.

Stay safe!

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