WhatsApp Begins Awareness Campaign To Alert Users About Ongoing Scam

WhatsApp has partnered with National Trading Standards to alert users about a new text scam that targets your personal information.

The new awareness campaign warns that a text or WhatsApp message from a “friend in need” asking for money or personal information could be from a scammer.

WhatsApp is launching a new initiative to educate users on how to avoid message-based scams.
The “STOP. THINK. CALL.” campaign, which was launched in the United Kingdom, has teamed up with comedian Joel Dommett, who was once the victim of a scam in which he was catfished and blackmailed, and Friends Against Scams, a National Trading Standards initiative to protect people from scams in England and Wales.
Messaging scams are on the rise, with 59 percent of British people reporting receiving a message-based scam in the last year, according to Opinium’s WhatsApp research. According to the findings, these scams are most common in SMS text messages (46 percent) and WhatsApp (13 percent).

So, what does STOP. THINK. CALL. really mean? According to WhatsApp, the STOP command entails counting to five before responding. “Make sure your WhatsApp two-step verification is turned on to protect your account; that your privacy settings are correct; and that your six-digit pin is secure.”

The THINK step requires you to consider the following: “Does this request make sense?” Are they requesting that you share a PIN code that they have sent to you? “Are they requesting money?”

READ ALSO: Discover The Best Way To Block Spam Messages On WhatsApp

The CALL step entails dialing the number to confirm the sender’s identity — is this message truly from a friend or relative, as it claims? “Only consider the request if you are absolutely certain it is from someone you know and trust. Report it to Action Fraud if it turns out to be false.”

Message scams have recently taken the form of WhatsApp texts that begin with “hey mum, it’s me.” Scammers posing as people’s friends in a WhatsApp scam earlier this year asked for SMS security codes before hijacking their accounts. Police have issued warnings about WhatsApp scams that prey on the elderly, often posing as family members and demanding large sums of money.

One of the most widely reported scams in recent months involved people receiving SMS messages purporting to be from Royal Mail (the UK’s postal service) advising them to pay a shipping fee.

WhatsApp does its part by using end-to-end encryption to protect its users’ personal messages — it cannot see your private messages, but it does share your metadata with Facebook for advertising purposes.

“We want to remind people that we all have a role to play in keeping our accounts safe by remaining vigilant to the threat of scammers,” WhatsApp policy manager Kathryn Harnett said in a statement.

We advise all users to never share their six-digit PIN code with anyone, not even friends or family, and to enable two-step verification for added security.”
“If you receive a suspicious message (even if you think you know who sent it), calling or requesting a voice note is the quickest and simplest way to confirm that the person is who they claim to be.” “A friend in need is a friend worth calling,” Harnett continues.

If you are concerned about being a victim of a scam, Citizens Advice Scams Action, an independent free consumer advice organization, encourages people to visit their website for assistance with online scams. If you have been a victim of a payment scam, you should immediately contact your bank.

READ ALSO: WhatsApp desktop app no longer requires your phone to be online