5 WhatsApp scams you should be aware of

Published: November 7, 2016

With over one billion active monthly users, WhatsApp is among the most popular messaging platforms. However, the app’s growing popularity has attracted a fair share of scammers who are employing new and innovative ways to lure unwary users.

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These scams range from simple text messages to dedicated apps – all designed to lure people in revealing their personal information. Some of these can be very convincing and as such users are advised to stay clear of anything that seems too good to be true.

Here is a list of 5 popular scams on WhatsApp that users should be aware of.

1. WhatsApp ending

This is perhaps the most popular scam on the list. Almost every WhatsApp user would have come across a message which claims that the app is shutting down or is switching to a paid service unless enough people share a certain message. The messages are mostly credited to the app’s CEO and are written using the right words and phrases to make them look like an official statement.

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But it is worth noting that news as big as this will not require users to send a message and would rather come on the news or come up as a proper notification on the app. WhatsApp users are therefore advised to ignore such messages.

2. WhatsApp Gold or WhatsApp Premium

This scam attracts users by offering new features limited to a Premium or Gold version of the app. The Premium or Gold app which can either be paid or free infects users’ phones with malware that can be used in illegal ways or force them to pay for services used by others in criminal activities.

Users are therefore advised to look out for the developer’s name when downloading apps from the App Store or Play Store.

3. Emails from WhatsApp

Emails are the preferred choice for scammers and they are now being used to scam WhatsApp users as well. This type of scam sends out emails which appear to be from WhatsApp and look like notifications for missed calls and voicemail. The email contains links which after clicking lead users to malicious sites designed to trick them into revealing their personal information.

Such emails from a questionable sender should always be ignored as WhatsApp will never send out emails that contain information about missed calls or voicemail.

4. Fake WhatsApp spying apps

WhatsApp released end-to-end encryption earlier this year which means messages sent using the app can only be read by the phones that send and receive them. However, the possibility of snooping on someone seems very exciting which is why scammers are using it to trick people.

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The message leads users to download an app that would enable them to spy others. However, they end up paying for something that isn’t actually real or even install malware that can read messages on their phone.

5. Voucher scams

These scams are designed as messages that appear to be sent from a friend and offer deals and discounts. However, the message diverts unwary users to a website where they are tricked into sharing their bank account details. Users are advised to stay away from websites that ask for personal information and cannot be verified.

This article originally appeared on The Independent.

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