WhatsApp scams: Know all about spam, hoax and phishing messages

19 November 2016, 05:04 PM
WhatsApp (Pic: Getty)
WhatsApp (Pic: Getty)

WhatsApp is one of the most popular chat applications in the world. More than 1 billion people use WhatsApp across the globe, while in India 95 per cent smartphone users use this app. WhatsApp users have been victims to several scam and hoaxes that are circulated every day. 

Just like SMS and emails, the chat app is also hit by spam, hoax and phishing messages. But users should ignore them in order to stay safe from scams and hoaxes.

Here are some scams, hoaxes and phishing messages you should stay away from:

Fake ‘Video Calling’ invitations:

WhatsApp developers rollout some features on its beta platform for testers before launching the final version of any new feature on the messaging app. The features after passing the testing phase are released for the users.

The information about the upcoming features are usually revealed by the beta testers. Scamsters thus take advantage of the system called ‘feature by invite’ generating a false invitation to the users luring them to avail the new features before the final version launch.

The latest ‘video-calling feature’ scam:

A scamster generated an invitation to activate video calling feature on WhatsApp, which turned out to be a hoax. Each time the invite or message was clicked, the scamster made money by showing advertisements and sending the users to various website links.

On November 15, WhatsApp officially enabled video calling on its apps for Android and iOS. The video calling feature is now officially available on WhatsApp for all users.

WhatsApp Gold and WhatsApp Plus:

WhatsApp Gold and WhatsApp Plus are not official WhatsApp’s apps but third-party apps from a developer. WhatsApp Gold and WhatsApp Plus are tweaked official app with a few added features.

However, using these two apps can be a security threat, hence should not be installed. These apps can send all your private data to the developers or make your phone automatically click on advertisements to earn money for them.

Voucher deals:

This scam comes in the form of a WhatsApp message from one of the victim’s contact and asks to click on a link to avail an offer. One such message was ‘Amazon BigBillionDay Lucky Wheel.’ These messages carry tiny URLs which redirect users to malware websites. Another such scam was about a McDonald’s free offer.

WhatsApp will no longer be free:

This is a rumour or hoax which is being heard time and again since the launch of WhatsApp. Users should ignore this hoax. WhatsApp initially had plans to offer the app for free for the first year and then go paid on yearly basis. However, it officially went free for all users later.

All WhatsApp users are advised not to click any such links.
First Published: Saturday, November 19, 2016 04:42 PM
For all the latest News Download the News Nation App available on Android and iOS.