WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service, is suffering from an increased number of attempted scams thanks to bargain hunters looking for great Black Friday deals.
Sometimes an offer is too good to be true, even on Black Friday. That’s something that people are discovering with recent messages offering them vouchers for up to £150 at UK retailers.
Sainsbury’s, Spar and Morrisons have all seen scammers using their brands to spread their messages and collect more victims.
Messages, like the one in the Tweet below, are becoming a real problem for UK shoppers.
What happens if I fall for a scam?
The worst case is that you may end up paying for an ongoing subscription billed to your mobile phone. You might also be asked to give details of other friends to give the same offer too.
How did a WhatsApp scammer get my number
Messages like these tend to spread via friends who share their contacts with scammers to share the offer. Your well-meaning friends might, accidentally, be getting you sent these messages.
You might also find that your phone number has been included in a leak from one of the almost endless number of sites that have been hacked.
However WhatsApp does provide pretty good protection. When a number not in your phonebook messages you the app will warn you. You can either block it or report the sender for spam.
It’s well worth reporting these scams, as it helps WhatsApp track down dangerous numbers and prevent them messaging other people.
WhatsApp scams: What to look out for
One good tip for spotting such scams is to look at the domain name. For the most part any legitimate offer would sit on the company’s own website. Using morrissons-uk.gift is a dead giveway that things are not legit.
If you’re still in doubt, check the company’s Twitter feed to see if it has mentioned a legitimate offer, or mentioned a known scam.
If you tell a company about an offer you’ve received that isn’t genuine you might also find it is able to remove the domain to stop other people getting scammed.
What is WhatsApp doing about this?
The company does monitor these scams and it has advice pages to help you if you’re worried.
The company is also going to start offering businesses a legitimate way to contact customers, so it may well have a verified badge for them in the future, which will help people spot fake messages.
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