WhatsApp remains to be one of the most popular instant messaging apps with more than 1 billion users worldwide. In 2014, Facebook acquired this mobile app for $19 billion in cash and bonds. While there had been doubts on the security of the new private policy in which WhatsApp will share data with Facebook, the company assured its users that there is no need to worry. Besides, Android users can opt-out to sign up for this update.
Spams, Scams and Hoaxes
However, just like in downloading other mobile applications, it is also possible to receive messages and advertisements from third parties. While some are legit and useful, most come in a form of spam, scams and hoaxes. Others even mimic the official webpage and try to get users to disclose passwords of emails.
One of the hoaxes attributed to WhatsApp is an upgrade to a premium version of the app, known as “WhatsApp Gold”. The user gets an invitation that entices him or her to click on the link. It also offers promises like being able to send 100 images simultaneously. If the user gets swayed and clicks the link, the security of the phone is at risk because malware infection is probable.
Another possible threat is virus infection. This scam is via a notification that tells you of a missed call on WhatsApp via the email app. Users will receive emails from hackers masking as the support team of the messaging app and the user will be prompted to click on the link to view details. If the user follows the instruction, malware will be installed on the mobile phone and pertinent information can be stolen.
There are also instances where hackers send chain messages to users and will convince them to forward the message to 10 contacts. Just like any chain text or letter, this comes with a warning that failure to do so will lead to something negative, in this case, user will not be able to use WhatsApp messenger anymore.
Have you come across mobile apps that let you do interesting things or give you certain access, such as being able to unlock the passcode and so on? With WhatsApp, the scam is via another mobile app that lets you spy on the conversations of your friends. If this sounds tempting and too good to be true, this is because this is a hoax.
Another scam that can easily lead clueless users to say yes to is the extra charge they need to pay. While this is perhaps one of the oldest scams, many people are still caught off-guard. This type of scam is a message sent to the unsuspecting user from an unknown number, informing that the WhatsApp account has expired and that payment is needed to reactivate it. Again, this is a scam.
These are just some of the scams used by hackers to steal information from WhatsApp users. The best thing to do, so as not to become a victim, is to delete or ignore messages that are not within WhatsApp messenger, like emails and text messages from unknown sources. Better yet, learn how to deal with WhatsApp scams and hoaxes.
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