WhatsApp currently has 1.5 billion monthly users and counts 60 billion messages sent on the platform each day. And this huge number of users is precisely why WhatsApp is increasingly becoming a paradise for scammers.
They turn to WhatsApp to try and con the users and make a lot of money. They commit their scams in many different ways. Often, scammers try to infect phones with malware and collect usernames, passwords, credit card details, and other sensitive data.
Other times, they pose as retailers, for instance, and charge for various services that are supposed to be free. They also make people provide their personal information with the goal of stealing their identities.
Don’t let scammers scare you away from WhatsApp. Instead, learn to recognize scams and continue messaging safely. Opting out for the best virtual private network provider is a good strategy so protect yourself. Here are the most common scams going around on the platform.
If you receive a message from someone saying they’re Olivia, pretending to be a friend of a friend, delete it. More importantly, don’t click on any links in the conversation. It’s a fake user.
What’s horrible about this is that this scammer usually targets children, and sends a link to a pornographic site. If your kids are using WhatsApp, make sure you talk to them and make them aware of the danger.
Free Shopping Vouchers
There are several scams on WhatsApp concerning free shopping vouchers. There is Asda, Aldi, Tesco, and Mark & Spencer fake voucher codes going around.
If you click on the provided links to get the voucher, a scammer will require your personal information. They’ll also install cookies in your browser to keep sending you ads or gather your personal information and track you.
You can spot the fake vouchers by inspecting the URLs because they usually have grammar or spelling mistakes.
Free Adidas Shoes
Just like with the fraudulent vouchers, there’s a phishing scam regarding Adidas. It concerns a message saying Adidas is giving 2500 free pairs of shoes to celebrate its anniversary. You can see that it’s fake by looking at the link: the “i” in “Adidas” doesn’t have a dot.
Aer Lingus Free Flight
Another freebie scam concerns the Aer Lingus carrier airline. You again receive a fraudulent link to get a free flight. This isn’t a genuine offer, so don’t ever fall for it.
Announcements Regarding WhatsApp Fees
This scam has been going around for a few years now. There are several different messages, but they all boil down to informing you that you’ll need to start paying for WhatsApp.
The scammers ask you to forward the message to 10 of your friends so that your account stays active. The message says that if you don’t, your account will deactivate soon. It also says that WhatsApp will charge you $25 for account reactivation if you don’t act quickly.
A lot of people fall for this because they simply don’t want to lose their accounts. However, by forwarding the scam message, they spread the hoax and put more people at risk. Scammers can then steal personal information from those people, or con them for money.
You’ll never have to pay for WhatsApp, so don’t fall for any version of this scam.
WhatsApp Gold is a fake version of WhatsApp designed to infect people’s phones with malware. It tricks people into thinking that they have a chance to install the premium version of WhatsApp used by celebrities.
The message says that they have an exclusive chance to use advanced features. Some of the features include deleting a sent message and sending 100 pictures at once.
This is, of course, a complete fraud. You get an invitation link that you need to use to sign up for WhatsApp Gold. By clicking on it, you instantly infect your phone with malware.
This scam involves sending WhatsApp users an email, instead of a message on the platform. WhatsApp never contacts its users on any other platform.
Scammers send an email saying that you have a missed WhatsApp call or a voicemail. To see the missed call, you need to click on the provided link. To listen to the voicemail, you need to press the “Listen” button. In both cases, you end up installing malware on your phone.
How to Stay Safe from WhatsApp Scams?
To make sure you’re safe from these and other WhatsApp scams, you should:
- install antivirus software on your phone
- keep your phone’s software up-to-date
- never click on the links in suspicious messages
- use a VPN on your phone
Find the best VPN and it will encrypt your online activity and protect you against potential hackers, among other benefits. It’s the best way to safeguard your phone and all your data.