Police warn of new scam involving takeover of WhatsApp accounts

Police warn of new scam involving takeover of WhatsApp accounts

file photo phone woman 4
A person using a smartphone. (File photo: Xabryna Kek)

SINGAPORE: The police on Wednesday (Feb 19) warned of a new variant of a scam involving the takeover of WhatsApp accounts.

At least 18 police reports have been made about such scams since December 2019, said police in a media release.

The scam would begin with the victim receiving a WhatsApp message from a friend – whose WhatsApp account had been compromised – asking the victim to send over the 6-digit verification code sent to them.

“The victim would thereafter lose access to his or her WhatsApp account after providing the scammers with the 6-digit verification code,” the police said.

READ: 192 scams with fake Lazada and Shopee lucky draws reported this year

By impersonating the victims' friends on the compromised WhatsApp accounts, scammers would also ask for the victims' contact numbers and photos of their credit or debit cards, said police. 

They would claim to help the victims sign up and claim prizes for fake lucky draws allegedly conducted by Lazada, Shopee or Qoo10.

Victims were also instructed by the scammers to share the one-time password (OTP) that they receive.

READ: At least S$1.2 million lost in Facebook impersonation scams 

"They eventually realised that they were cheated after discovering unauthorised transactions on their accounts," police said. 

Police added that previously, scammers have been reported to employ similar tactics but through other platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

The police advised members of the public not to share their account verification codes with anyone, and to always beware of unusual requests received on WhatsApp, even if they were sent by their own contacts.

WhatsApp users should also enable the application's two-step verification feature to prevent others from compromising their account.

Source: CNA/ad