WhatsApp (otherwise known as WhatApps to some uncles and aunties) scams used to entail being forwarded lengthy messages about how everything is bad for us and potentially causes cancer.
But in recent times, it seems that swindlers have taken WhatsApp scams to another level by stealing their victim’s identity.
Police warn of a new scam: Identity theft on WhatsApp
Yesterday (29 May 2019), the Singapore Police Force (SPF) took to their website to inform the public of a new scam that has been reported overseas.
This scam involves WhatsApp users who are induced to share screenshots of their verification codes.
How It Works
According to the SPF, scammers would post a fake screenshot of a WhatsApp account verification code in chat groups using the account they acquired, under the disguise of alerting chat group members to WhatsApp account takeover scams.
At the same time, they’ll use another device to try and gain access to the group chat members’ accounts.
So these members would receive verification codes on their own devices.
And what happens next?
Humans are social animals and they’ll start posting their own screenshots onto the group chat in an attempt to “fit in” (say they’re in the same boat).
And voila, they get to take over your account with your screenshot, because your verification code is there.
Unless you bother to blur it lah.
In other words, don’t share your verification codes. They’re there for you to use to access your account in case you get locked out.
Thankfully, I haven’t experienced this.
But getting sent messages about online betting and money lending is enough to tick me off. How do these people even obtain my number when I’ve never used such services?
How to stay safe
Prevention is better than cure.
Here are some tips from the Police themselves:
- Keep your verification code to yourself
- Take note of abnormal requests received on WhatsApp, regardless of whether you know the other party
- Contact the sender directly to verify the authenticity of the request sent via platforms other than WhatsApp
- Utilize the “Two-Step Verification” feature to increase your account’s security system. This can be found under “Account” in the “Settings” tab of your WhatsApp
- Should your account be compromised, users can recover their account by signing into their WhatsApp using their phone number, and authenticate by entering the verification code which will be sent to their phone. The scammer using your account will automatically lose access
If you require assistance for anything scam-related, you may reach the team at 1800-722-6688.
Alternatively, visit www.scamalert.sg for the latest updates and news concerning scams.
And also subscribe to our YouTube channel. We’ve worked with the SPF on some anti-scam videos like this:
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