WhatsApp fans have been put on alert over a scam text message claiming to be from the makers of the chat app used by over a billion people each day.
WhatsApp fans have recently reported receiving a text that warns them their “subscription will be ending soon”.
They are urged to click on a link to allegedly “verify” their account and “purchase a lifetime subscription” for 99p for the Facebook-owned service.
However, it’s just a scam and a way to trick users into handing over their banking details and infecting their device.
Long-term users of WhatsApp will see the big giveaway that this is a scam, as the chat app has been free to use for everyone since 2016.
Twitter users in the past few days have reported receiving the scam text.
One user tweeted: “Be careful of the @WhatsApp scam. I’ve just received a message from someone claiming to be from #WhatsApp #SCAM”.
While another posted: “Scam text I received this morning. Had to stop and think for a second before remembering @whatsapp is free these days.”
And one added: “This sounds like a scam, right?
“Got a text from @WhatsApp saying: ‘Your subscription has expired. To verify your account and purchase a lifetime subscription for just 0.99 GBP simply tap on this link (REDACTED)
“Pretty sure this is a scam.” Cyber Protect, who safeguard the public and businesses from cyber crime, were asked about the scam on Twitter.
Replying to one user who tweeted them about it, they said: “This is indeed a scam.
“WhatsApp doesn’t charge a subscription fee and we get lots of reports about fraudulent texts identical to this.
“We advise people not to click the links or dial any numbers provided in unsolicited messages like this one.”
The latest round of fake text messages appear to be a re-emergence of a WhatsApp scam that first appeared earlier this year. Back in July Action Fraud drew attention to fraudsters sending out text messages and e-mails claiming to be from WhatsApp.
They said: “The emails claim your “subscription will be ending soon” and are after your banking information. We have been getting an increasing number of reports about them over the past couple of days. “Fraudsters have realised that this is a clever way to dupe people and earlier this month we warned people about the same style of WhatsApp subscription message being sent by text.”
Hi Chris, this is indeed a scam. WhatsApp doesn’t charge a subscription fee and we get lots of reports about fraudulent texts identical to this. We advise people not to click the links or dial any numbers provided in unsolicited messages like this one.
— Cyber Protect (@CyberProtectUK) November 16, 2017
Advising the public on what to do if they receive a fake text, Action Fraud said: ”If you receive one of these emails or text messages, do not click on any links. “Instead, delete it and report it to us. “If you have clicked on one of the links, run antivirus software to ensure your device has not been infected with malware.” Express.co.uk has contacted WhatsApp for comment.
Earlier this month WhatsApp users were warned about a scam message claiming they were entitled to a £250 ‘voucher’. These ‘vouchers’ were allegedly for big-name retailers such as Asda, Tesco and M&S. However, it was just a scam to try and convince people into handing over sensitive information. Action Fraud said the latest scam was similar to one from last year that promised money off vouchers for Sainsbury’s and Top Shop.
One example message reads: “Hey have you heard about this? Sainsbury’s is giving away £100 gift cards (with a convincing looking link to a fake website). “They are expanding their store network and they launched this promotion. Grab a gift card while it lasts. “I got mine already”. Action Fraud gave WhatsApp users advice on how to protect themselves.
Here’s what they should do:
• Install security software on your device and keep it up to date.
• Never click on unsolicited links in messages that you that receive, even if they appear to come from a trusted contact.
• Follow WhatsApp’s advice for staying safe whilst using the messaging service.