The WhatsApp Scam

The ‘WhatsApp Gold’ scam, which has being doing the rounds since 2016, has surfaced again in the form of a new message.

Action Fraud is warning consumers of another WhatsApp scam being circulated by fraudsters again. In the message, it is claimed that there is a video which will be launched called ‘Martinelli’. The video itself is a hoax and does not seem to exist. The message also warns of links being sent out to sign up for ‘WhatsApp Gold’.

Previous versions of ‘WhatsApp Gold’ messages have included promises of free flights and ‘exclusive’ access to enhanced features such as the ability to make video chats, send 100 images at once and delete messages hours after they have been sent.

Victims are urged to sign up via a download link. After clicking on the link they are redirected to a fake page and their phone will become infected with malware. Any updates to WhatsApp will usually happen automatically through the app. If you receive a request to download ‘WhatsApp Gold’ do not click the link.

Mobile malware protection advice

  • Always install the latest software and app updates.
  • Don’t jailbreak or root your devices. Disabling software restrictions leaves your phone, as well as the private data stored on it, vulnerable to malware and cyber criminals.
  • Only install apps from official app stores, such as Google Play or the app store that came pre-installed with your device.

WhatsApp security tips:

WhatsApp recently announced that it has more than 700 million monthly active members, sending a combined total of 30 billion messages a month. That’s an enormous volume of personal information being communicated, and even though WhatsApp now encrypts all of its messages and data, it pays to be secure with your chats.

Lock WhatsApp: One of the best WhatsApp security tips is to protect the app with a password or PIN. WhatsApp itself doesn’t offer such a function, but there are third-party apps that do. It might seem cumbersome but if you lose your phone, it’s going to prevent anyone else accessing your chats. Messenger and Chat Lock, Lock for WhatsApp and Secure Chat are three Android apps that do just that.

Watch out for scams: WhatsApp itself will never contact you through the app. Also, WhatsApp does not send emails about chats, voice messages, payment, changes, photos, or videos, unless you email their help and support to begin with. Anything offering a free subscription, claiming to be from WhatsApp or encouraging you to follow links in order to safeguard your account is definitely a scam and not to be trusted.

Deactivate WhatsApp: if you lose your phone WhatsApp offers users simple and effective security tips to keep control of your account if your phone is lost or stolen. As well as locking your SIM card through your network provider, WhatsApp recommends that you immediately activate WhatsApp with the same phone number on a different phone, with a replacement SIM. The app can only be used by one number on one device at a time, so by doing so you instantly block it from being used on your old phone. If that’s not possible, WhatsApp can deactivate your account.