familiar WhatsApp scam has reappeared in order to try and trick people into supplying their bank details to cyber criminals.
The scam takes the form of an official-looking message that warns people their “trial service” of the popular instant messaging app is coming to an end.
“At the completion of your trial period your WhatsApp will no longer be able to send or receive message [sic]. To continue using WhatsApp without interuption, we need you to subscribe for any of our subscription periods.”
The message then provides a link to a “customer portal” where an unwitting victim can provide their bank details.
Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre says the message is a clever way to dupe people but that users should be vigilant.
“Long term users of WhatsApp will remember paying a 0.99p annual fee to use the messaging service. In 2016, this was scrapped by Facebook who took over running of the company after buying it for £11.4bn,” the organisation said.
“That means since 2016, the service has been free for every user.”
It has said it will introduce less obtrusive security measures over the next six months.
It goes on to say that older users of the app “could quite easily think the app has gone back to its subscription model and get caught out.”
This is far from the first time this scam has appeared. Due to the popularity and widespread use of WhatsApp it frequently reappears in the hope of ensnaring new victims.
WhatsApp’s response to such scams is clear, advising users on how to take action: “We always advise you to block the sender, disregard the message and delete it.”
For future reference, WhatsApp says to look out for these points when you suspect a hoax:
- The sender claims to be affiliated with WhatsApp.
- The message content includes instructions to forward the message.
- The message claims you can avoid punishment, like account suspension, if you forward the message.
- The message content includes a reward or gift from WhatsApp or another person.
You can block any sender you suspect of sending you a hoax message.
Open the conversation and press the “Block” option and they will no longer be able to message or call you from that account.