A CUNNING WhatsApp scam that hijacks your account is targeting unsuspecting users of the popular app.
Experts are warning WhatsApp users to avoid a clever con message – or risk losing their account to crooks.
It's a spin on the classic "verification code" scam, in which a hacker poses as a pal.
The friend says they accidentally sent their authorisation code to you – when really, they're trying to get your own login code.
This lets hackers access your account, text your contacts and read your messages.
A new version of the scam comes from the so-called "WhatsApp Technical Team".
Scammers ask users to verify their identify by sending over their six-digit login code.
But the message is a complete con, and you shouldn't hand over your information.
Crooks use an image of the WhatsApp logo as their profile picture to make the scam more convincing.
"This is fake. WhatsApp doesn't message you on WhatsApp," said WABetaInfo, a specialist WhatsApp blog.
"And if they do (for global announcements, but it's so rare), a green verified indicator is visible.
"WhatsApp never asks for your data or verification codes."
Once hackers hijack an account they may ask for money or steal personal information like the groups you are in and any new messages you receive.
And by stealing your account, scammers can then pose as you – and con your friends or family too.
How to protect yourself from this scam
Firstly, you should never be handing out six-digit PIN numbers to anyone.
You can also take an extra step and set up two-step verification for your WhatsApp.
This means even if someone does get hold of your six-digit number, they will still need an extra password.
To set this up, open your WhatsApp and click "Settings", "Account" and then "Two-Step Verification".
You'll see a message which states: "Enter a six-digit PIN which you'll be asked for when you register your phone number with WhatsApp."
WhatsApp – a quick history
Here's what you need to know…
- WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
- It's one of the most popular messaging services in the world
- Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like "what's up"
- After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
- It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast. Then in 2016, it became free again for all users
- Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
- The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
- As of January 2018, WhatsApp has over 2billion users globally
Then choose your PIN and click "Next" to save.
You'll also be given an option to setup a backup email address.
If you have fallen prey to this hack you need to reinstall your WhatsApp and ask for a fresh activation code.
This will reset the app on your phone.
In other news, WhatsApp now offers huge group video calls to compete with Zoom.
Facebook has launched a dedicated Gaming app for streaming and playing with pals.
And the social network has also debuted a new chat app for couples called Tuned.
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