WhatsApp scams – watch out for ‘verification code’ and ‘new number’

Fraudsters are posing as family members on WhatsApp in order to manipulate you into transferring money.

You receive an unexpected but genuine text message from WhatsApp containing a verification code. The text is triggered by fraudsters entering your number into WhatsApp in an attempt to log in to your account. Next, one of your ‘contacts’ will message you via the app to try and persuade you to give them the code you’ve just received. This allows them to take over your account, so they can send messages to your other contacts that look as if they came from you. The scammer then starts a chat which leads to a “friend in need” scam asking for money. Your friend or relative, thinking that it’s you, is more likely to fall for the scam and transfer money to the fraudsters.

  • If you get a request for money in a message, whether it’s via WhatsApp, any other messaging platform, email or text, it’s always worth giving the sender a quick phone call to check the details before you go ahead, even if it’s a close relative.
  • Don’t give security codes for any accounts to anyone.

There are also reports of entirely random phone numbers contacting people on WhatsApp, claiming to be a son, daughter or other family member or friend who suddenly has a ‘new number’. Thinking it’s genuine, you add them as a contact and they’ll then try to get money or personal data out of you.  

For more details: which.co.uk/scams/whatsapp-impersonation-family-friends-new-number/

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