We’re only six days into 2017 and it seems we’ve already had our first WhatsApp scam of the year.
Users of the messaging platform are reportedly being targeted by a hoax whereby they’re sent a message claiming WhatsApp will soon begin charging.
The message in question has been seen before, in 2012, but has re-emerged to help kick off 2017, targeting inactive users by informing them that unless they forward the message to 10 contacts, they will have to pay a charge of “0.01ps per message”.
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The full message, spelling mistakes and grammar offences included, reads: “From Saturday morning whatsapp will become chargeable.
“If you have at least 10 contacts send them this message. In this way we will see that you are an avid user and your logo will become blue and will remain free.
“(As discussed in the paper today. Whatsapp will cost 0.01ps per message. Send this message to 10 people. When you do the light will turn blue otherwise whatsapp will activate billing.”
“The light” in question appears to be the scammer’s way of referring to the WhatsApp icon itself, which is usually green, but will magically turn blue according to the message.
You should be able to block the sender from within the message, as whenever you receive a communication from an unknown sender, WhatsApp gives you the option to block them outright in the conversation thread.
You can also go to Settings>Account>Privacy>Blocked contacts and add the number to the list from there.
If you want to report the issue, go to Settings>About and help>Contact us and send the company a message to let them know you’ve received the scam message.
It’s also a good idea to delete the message, but if you want to protect yourself further, you could try installing security software, such as Avast or AVG Antivirus, which are available through the specific app stores.
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Let us know if you’ve received the scam message in the comments.