Three common Whatsapp scams (and how you protect yourself against it)

WhatsApp is one of the most popular means of communication at the moment and therefore also an attractive target for scammers. We show you how to arm against common WhatsApp scams.

1. WhatsApp has expired

We see the messages lately show up regularly: WhatsApp users who complain about recurring pop-ups in their browser reporting that the chat service has expired. This is followed by the ‘advice’ to install an update to resolve it as your contacts, messages, and media will be lost. Don’t ever believe that because after the update you’re stuck with a subscription that will cost between five and ten dollars per week.

If you can’t get rid of the “WhatsApp expired” notification, erase the data, cookies, browser history or remove and reinstall it. If the problem persists, consider making a backup copy of your data and restore the factory settings. Whether you WhatsApp has actually expired or not, you can check yourself by going to Settings > Account > Payment Information. For most users the subscription to WhatsApp extends annually free of charge.

2. WhatsApp outdated

Some WhatsApp users report that they also get pop-ups in their browser that claim that the version of the application they are using is outdated. It speaks for itself that you should not click on this type of blinking messages. Updates to WhatsApp are always rolled out via Google Play and you can look in ‘My Apps’ if a newer version is available. Additionally, you can, if you search in the Play Store to WhatsApp, check whether an update is available.

Whatsapp scamming

Sometimes updates are first available through the official website rather than in Google Play; In that case, you can download the app and manually install the APK file. However, avoid unofficial channels that provide updates; you can’t check for potential malware that is included.

3. Messages from ‘friends’

Always be critical of links or strange messages that you receive from other users via WhatsApp, even if at first sight they are from you know or people who claim to work for the service. Think of interesting offers and rewards you might receive by clicking on a link. In many cases, this is phishing; so never click them! Also, if you need to send messages to contacts in order to avoid having to pay for WhatsApp, you can ignore them and put them directly in the trash.

Finally, there are cases of fraud via WhatsApp which the victim is approached by someone posing as an acquaintance. During the call the phone number of the caller is not displayed, only the Facebook photo. By generating confidence and saying that online banking was not working, the scammer hopes to catch money. Since most users then get suspicious, this trick is usually unsuccessful.