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New scam involving takeover of WhatsApp accounts: Police

New scam involving takeover of WhatsApp accounts: Police

Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Whatsapp logo in this picture illustration taken Mar 28, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Dado Ruvic)

SINGAPORE: The police on Wednesday (May 29) warned members of the public of a new variant of scams involving the takeover of WhatsApp accounts.

The scam, which has been reported overseas, involves scammers luring WhatsApp users into sharing screenshots of their verification codes. 

The scammers would then take over the user’s WhatsApp account using the information.

“In these cases, after taking over a victim’s WhatsApp account, scammers would post a fake screenshot of a WhatsApp account verification code in chat groups using the account, under the guise of alerting chat group members to WhatsApp account takeover scams,” the police said.

READ: Police receive at least 90 reports of scams involving takeover of WhatsApp accounts

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The scammer would then use another device to attempt to log in to the WhatsApp accounts of the chat group members.

As a result, these members would each receive WhatsApp verification codes on their devices

The police said that the intent of the scammers is to lure these WhatsApp users into sharing screenshots of their own verification codes in the chat group, in order to show that they are experiencing the same situation.

DO NOT SHARE VERIFICATION CODES

The police said last month that there were at least 90 reports of WhatsApp accounts being taken over by scammers since January. 

The victims in those cases received a WhatsApp message from a friend whose account had been compromised. The message requested for the victim to send over a six-digit WhatsApp verification code that had been sent to them via SMS. 

After sharing the verification code, the victims then lost access to their WhatsApp accounts.

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

“Always call your friend to verify the authenticity of the request, but do not do so through the social media platform as the account might have been taken over by scammers,” they added.

READ: IMDA exploring tech to block automated scam calls, messages

READ: Scammers duping victims into buying software to fix fake virus infection: Police

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

In the event that an account has been taken over by a scammer, the user can recover the account by signing into their WhatsApp application using their phone number. They can authenticate their log-in attempt by entering the verification PIN which they will receive on their phone.

The scammer who was using their account will be automatically logged out after that.

Source: CNA/zl(hm)

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