Posted: Thu 30th Mar 2023

WhatsApp Scam Alert: UK users targeted by criminals seeking account access

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 30th, 2023

Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, has issued a warning regarding a surge in reports related to a WhatsApp scam targeting users’ accounts.

Over 60 reports have been received by Action Fraud, with criminals posing as friends or group members to deceive users and gain control of their accounts.

The scam starts when a criminal gains access to a WhatsApp account that has the victim listed as a contact.

Posing as a friend or member of a group the victim is in, the criminal sends seemingly innocuous messages to initiate a conversation.

Simultaneously, the target receives a six-digit code via text message, as the criminal attempts to log in to WhatsApp using the victim’s mobile number.

The criminal then claims to have sent the code accidentally, requesting the victim’s help by sending the code back.

Once the code is in the criminal’s possession, they can access the target’s WhatsApp account and lock the rightful user out.

This tactic is then employed on the victim’s contacts, allowing the scammer to take over more accounts and commit further fraud.

To protect themselves from such scams, WhatsApp users are advised to:

  1. Enable two-step verification for added security by going to Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable.
  2. Verify any unusual requests from friends or family members by calling them to confirm their identity.
  3. Never share their account’s activation code (the six-digit code received via SMS).
  4. Report spam messages or block a sender within WhatsApp by pressing and holding the message bubble, selecting ‘Report’, and following the instructions.

Action Fraud encourages anyone who has been a victim of fraud or cybercrime to report it by contacting them on 0300 123 2040 or visiting their website.

By reporting such incidents, individuals can help authorities track and combat cybercriminals.

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