WHATSAPP users are being warned to secure their accounts to stop cybercriminals.
Crooks can hijack your account and wreak havoc – but it's easy enough to lock them out.
An official WhatsApp memo issues all users with four tips on how to stop people accessing your account.
If someone gets access to your WhatsApp account, it can be very serious.
Not only could they spy on your messages, but they could also hoodwink your friends and family too.
They could steal money or personal info from loved ones – and potentially even install dangerous malware on their devices.
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And if someone can read your texts, they could blackmail or extort you.
WhatsApp issued four key pieces of advice that you shouldn't ignore.
The first is to never share your registration code or two-step verification PIN with anyone else.
Even if a friend or family member requests it, do not share it.
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Crooks may have hijacked their accounts and are simply trying to trick you.
There's no good reason to give your one-time-use app code to anyone.
Doing so will allow them to take over your account in seconds.
The second piece of advice is to enable two-step verification and provide an email address in case you forget your PIN.
This can stop your account from being hijacked in the first place – and will help you to get it back if it's taken.
Thirdly, you should set a device code.
This is a great idea to stop people from accessing your device without your knowledge.
And finally, WhatsApp said that you should be very mindful of who else can access your phone.
"Be aware of who has physical access to your phone," WhatsApp explained.
"If someone has physical access to your phone, they can use your WhatsApp account without your permission."
WhatsApp also warned users over dangerous scam emails or messages that you need to ignore.
"If you receive an email to reset the two-step verification PIN or registration code but didn't request this, don't click on the link," WhatsApp advised.
"Someone could be attempting to access your phone number on WhatsApp."
Thankfully WhatsApp has made a big effort to stop this type of scam.
In April 2023, the tech giant rolled out an update that aims to prevent this kind of account takeover.
"If you need to switch your WhatsApp account to a new device – we want to double check that it’s really you," WhatsApp explained.
"From now on, we may ask you on your old device to verify that you want to take this step as an extra security check.
"This feature can help alert you to an unauthorized attempt to move your account to another device."
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If you allow a transfer requested by someone else, scammers will be able to seize control of your account.
So be very wary when this message appears.
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