WhatsApp has more than 1.3 billion active users and while this makes it easy to find your friends and family on the app, this huge user base also attracts scammers and hackers.
Over the recent past, we’ve seen quite a number of scams spreading on the chat app. Whether it’s fake news or malicious malware, we’ve seen it all. Given that more people keep downloading and installing WhatsApp on their phones, with most of them new to the smartphone world, the number of hacking attempts will not reduce anytime soon.
In this regard, we’ve prepared a list of the top 5 WhatsApp scams that you’ll definitely meet at some point, if at all you haven’t met them yet. Also, we’ll give you some hints on how to deal with such scams whenever they show up on your phone.
WhatsApp will start charging for its services
When WhatsApp started out back in 2009, it was a freemium app. This means that users had to try it first for a year before they start paying for it in the following years of use. With this in mind, hackers and scammers have been taking advantage of unsuspecting users of the app by spreading reports that the app will soon start charging users for its services.
Usually, this hoax claims that in order for you to keep using the free version of WhatsApp, you’ll need to forward the message – or some link – to all of your contacts or sometimes a specific figure.
Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 and subsequently made the app free for life, which means you shouldn’t entertain any message with claims that the app will soon start charging its users.
Invites to get new WhatsApp features
This is the easiest way hackers spread malicious software on phones. WhatsApp users will easily fall into this trap, especially if the feature in question is enticing. For instance, when the chat app introduced video calling, scammers took advantage of the situation by asking users to follow a given link in order to get the feature. Users were led to another website that had more links for other devices and one is asked to download an extension or take you to more pages. It gets even worse when malicious apps start downloading to your phone.
In order to capture more people, the scammers may also advice that you forward the message containing the link to other contacts in order to activate the alleged new feature.
When you meet such messages, delete them with immediate effect. WhatsApp is available via the Google Play Store and as such, the updated version that carries any new features will be available via the same Play Store. You won’t be sent any links from the team directly to your inbox.
Still on the same matter of new WhatsApp features, scammers have also been tricking users of the app that there’s a special version called WhatsApp Gold. This has been one of the most popular WhatsApp scams, where users are tricked that the app has premium features that the “regular” version doesn’t offer.
Note that there’s only one WhatsApp and regardless of your status in the community, everyone gets the same features.
Another of the many WhatsApp scams you’ll probably meet is one asking you to share a message or photos in order to help raise money for a needy person (s). When you come across such a message, dismiss it right away because the app doesn’t make any charitable donations for sharing messages or photos.
In most cases, such messages do not come with a link, but sending such hoaxes to friends might lead you to lose a few of them.
With back to school season upon us, many are looking for those shops that offer discounts on their products as well as free vouchers. With this in mind, it’s easy to fall victim of such WhatsApp scams.
You’ll be offered something at zero pay, but as you may know, there’s nothing that comes for free. Scammers have designed messages that trick users into believing that they’ve been given a free voucher. In order to get this voucher or discount for that matter, a link is usually accompanying the message.
The link might take you to a website that is full of malware or maybe one that asks you to complete some tasks. Stay off such messages and links because WhatsApp won’t be sending you any such offers.