It is not the first time that popular messaging app WhatsApp has been targeted by scammers with fake texts and subscriptions.
Not so long ago, users of the app were receiving a message that claimed the app had received a variety of new colors. Apparently, the message stated that those who wanted to be part of the new version of the app follow a link that was provided in the message in order to activate the new feature. Upon opening the provided link, the unsuspecting users were further told to share the message with 12 other people in order to activate the feature.
Well, as it turned out, this was a scam where the persons behind it were looking for an easy way to infect up to 12 people at once, but the Facebook-owned company was quick to warn people against this message. If anything, any WhatsApp update that carries new features comes via the official channels, which include the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Now, in an almost similar case, there’s a text message that is doing rounds tricking WhatsApp users into parting with a small fee, claiming that it’s meant for the app’s lifetime subscription. Apparently, the message has appeared in the UK, where those who have received the message are being told pay 0.99 GBP by following some link.
Here’s the exact message:
Your subscription has expired. To verify your account and purchase a lifetime subscription for just 0.99 GBP simply tap on this link.
If you see a message of this kind, probably with a changed currency that reflects your local market, be warned that it’s not from WhatsApp. Just so as you know, the Facebook-owned chat app is free of charge. Whether it’s downloading it, using it or updating it to the latest version, all you need is data or rather an internet connection and that’s it.
It’s true WhatsApp was at some point a paid-for app. At the time, Facebook had not stamped its authority on the company. The app was free for use for one year, but later, one had to pay $0.99 per year in order to keep using it. This wasn’t a bad deal at all, but for now, the app is no longer paid-for, rather, it’s completely free.
Back in 2016, a similar scam appeared, tricking WhatsApp users that they should pay for their continued usage of the app, something that turned out to be fake. Well, whether it’s the same scammers that are at it once again or not we still don’t know, but all we know is that there’s nothing like that.
The figure might be small to some, especially those who might easily be tricked into paying the amount. However, given that WhatsApp has more than 1.2 billion users across the globe, this could be a fortune for the scammers behind the message, even if a portion of the user base doesn’t fall into the trap.
As noted at the beginning, this scam has so far been recorded in Britain, but since WhatsApp is a global app, it might take a very short period of time before the same message starts appearing in other regions, especially when people are not so tech savvy or maybe have no idea that this app is free for lifetime usage.