Avoiding WhatsApp Scams, Hoaxes and Viruses

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Some WhatsApp scams and hoaxes keep surfacing over and over again, sometimes with tweaks to minor details. Here are some of them, so don’t be fooled!

  • Legitimate-looking document attached to WhatsApp message 
  • Chain message
  • Medical funding appeal
  • WhatsApp Gold 
  • Email app

Some WhatsApp scams and hoaxes keep surfacing over and over again, sometimes with tweaks to minor details. They used to focus on the idea that you would be charged for the service, but now they offer scam shopping vouchers and dodgy links that download malware.

Here are some WhatsApp scams and hoaxes that you should wise up to and just delete.

WhatsApp Attachment

This scam tricks you into opening a legitimate-looking Word, Excel or PDF document attached to a WhatsApp message that will actually download malware to your device to steal your personal information. The easiest way to avoid this scam is to delete the message, and never to download an unexpected document attachment – whether or not it comes from a trusted contact.

Chain Message

A message that asks you to forward it to x number of people or risk facing dire consequences. Don’t even bother to read the message, just hit the delete button.

Boost Medical Funding Appeal

An appeal that someone is in need of urgent medical funding, and if you forward the message WhatsApp will pay towards the cause. No truth in it – hit the delete button.

WhatsApp Gold

An exclusive invitation to upgrade to a premium version of the app called WhatsApp Gold. It’s a complete con: there is no WhatsApp Gold.

Email App

This scam isn’t delivered by WhatsApp itself but through your email app on your smartphone. It tells you that you have missed a WhatsApp call or have a WhatsApp voice message, which you should click on the link in the email to access. Rather than your message, you get a virus downloaded to your device. Don’t be fooled: WhatsApp will never contact you outside the WhatsApp app itself. So if you see this, don’t click the link – just delete the message.