There are more than 2.5 billion active WhatsApp users worldwide — that’s a lot of potential WhatsApp scam victims.
Though WhatsApp is an incredibly useful, not to mention free, app for texting and calling people anywhere in the world, it’s important to know what to look out for to protect yourself from scammers.
5 of the Most Common WhatsApp Scams
1. “Friend In Need”/Six-Digit Code Scam
In a WhatsApp code scam, you receive an unsolicited six-digit code from scammers, which looks like the code you receive if you’re verifying your account or logging in on a different device.
After you get the code, you’ll receive a message from who you think is a friend or family member asking for the code so they can unlock their account. If you send the code over, the scammers can use it to hijack your WhatsApp account.
How To Protect Yourself From This Scam:
Never send a code you receive through WhatsApp to anyone, even if you think it’s someone you know.
2. Tinder WhatsApp Scam
Tinder WhatsApp scams are another common type of scam to look out for. In this type of WhatsApp scam, someone you match with through tinder will invite you to talk with them via WhatsApp.
However, they are really scammers who create fake Tinder profiles to lure unsuspecting people looking for love into giving them sensitive data or sending them money after they’ve been talking for a while.
Once a Tinder WhatsApp scammer thinks they have you hooked, they might make up a story about being in financial trouble and ask you to help them out, or they might try to tease sensitive private information out of you that they can use to perpetrate identity theft.
How To Spot A Tinder WhatsApp Scam:
Be wary of any potential romantic connection you talk to on WhatsApp who you haven’t met in real life, especially if they start asking for personal information or money.
Never send money or private information to someone you matched with on Tinder and are talking to via WhatsApp.
3. WhatsApp Gold Scam
WhatsApp Gold is a fake version of the app that claims to be for celebrities and other VIP users. Scammers send you emails or messages stating that a new version of WhatsApp is available and telling you to upgrade now.
However, if you click the link to download WhatsApp Gold, it will install malware on your device that takes it hostage or steals sensitive data from you.
How To Spot a WhatsApp Gold Scam:
There is no such thing as WhatsApp Gold, or any “premium” version of WhatsApp. Don’t believe any messages claiming there is or asking you to upgrade your version of the app.
4. Supermarket WhatsApp Scams
There are WhatsApp scam messages that appear to be vouchers from big supermarket chains that contain links you have to click on to supposedly claim the offer. But, these links are false and will install malware on your device or take you to malicious sites designed to steal your info.
How To Avoid This Scam:
Most big brands don’t send out offers via WhatsApp, so be wary of any unsolicited messages you receive claiming to be from supermarkets or other well-known companies. Also, always look for spelling and grammar mistakes in messages you receive — these are huge red flags. Finally, never click on any unknown links in WhatsApp messages.
5. Fake Delivery WhatsApp Scams
In this final common type of WhatsApp scam, the fraudsters send you a message claiming that they have a delivery for you. They’ll ask you to go to a sketchy site and fill out personal information and make a payment to receive the delivery.
How To Spot a Fake Delivery Scam:
Legitimate delivery companies should not request payments or info via WhatsApp. If anything, they will come to your door with a credit card machine if you have to pay something extra. Also, if you aren’t expecting a delivery, someone randomly claiming they have one for you is a red flag.
To avoid this WhatsApp scam, never provide sensitive data, such as bank account info or credit card numbers, to anyone claiming they have a delivery for you.
Tips for Avoiding WhatsApp Scams
1. Don’t Give Out Your Security Code to Anyone
As we already mentioned, a WhatsApp code scam involves scammers asking you for a verification code to steal your account. Never send any code you receive through WhatsApp to anyone, even if they appear to be a contact of yours.
2. Enable 2-Step Verification
Two-step verification can be turned on in your WhatsApp account settings and adds an extra layer of security to prevent your account from getting hijacked.
3. Be Vigilant
Always be wary of messages you receive via WhatsApp. Even if you think they are from friends or family, they could be from scammers who have stolen one of your contact’s accounts. Look out for messages that are unsolicited or seem off in any way.
4. Call Your Friend/Family Member Directly When in Doubt
If a friend or family member ever sends a message asking for some kind of personal info, call them and ask to make sure it was really them who sent the message.