Cyber criminals are targeting unsuspecting WhatsApp users in a new scam design to steal your banking details.
WhatsApp users are reporting a new scam attack that could result in the loss of both financial assets and personal information. Fraudsters are trying to trick people who use the internet messaging service with a fake email that appears to be an official communication from WhatsApp – but is actually a devious ploy to nab your bank details.
In an exposé produced by the UK police’s Action Fraud division, the sinister scam is revealed in chilling detail. So how does it work?
WhatsApp Subscription Scam explained
If you’ve used WhatsApp for a while, you may recall that there used to be a £0.99 fee that you had to pay annually to continue using the service. However, after WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook, the fee was scrapped in 2016, meaning the service was free for all users ever since.
But scammers are hoping to capitalise on the fact that some people may be unaware of this change, and are sending e-mails to users claiming that “your subscription [to WhatsApp] is ending soon”, and requesting payments:
“Our records indicate that your WhatsApp trial service is exceeding the one-year period,” the e-mail reads. “At the completion of your trial period, your WhatsApp will no longer be able to send or receive message. To continue using WhatsApp without interruption, we need you to subscribe for any of our subscription periods.”
Users are prompted to click a link, which will take them to a fake customer portal where personal details are requested.
Check it out:
In response to the scam, Action Fraud said: “Fraudsters have realised that this is a clever way to dupe people and earlier this month we warned people about the same style of WhatsApp subscription message being sent by text.”
It continued: “If you receive one of these emails or text messages, do not click on any links. Instead, delete it and report it to us. If you have clicked on one of the links, run antivirus software to ensure your device has not been infected with malware.”
You can contact Action Fraud about fraud or cyber crime by calling 0300 123 2040.
It’s no surprise that WhatsApp users are being targeted at any rate; the Facebook-owned messaging app now has a user base of over one billion, making it the most popular messaging application in the world. Facebook purchased the company behind the app for $19.3 billion USD back in February 2014.
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