The police on Wednesday, May 29 warned members of the public in Singapore 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.
This is being done following a few steps:
First, the scammers would hack into a WhatsApp account using a screenshot of a verification code.
“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.
After taking over a victim’s WhatsApp account, the scammers post a fake screenshot of a WhatsApp verification code in chat groups using the account. They do so under the guise of alerting chat group members to WhatsApp account takeover scams.
At the same time, using another device, the scammers would attempt to log into the WhatsApp accounts of the other members in the chat group. The members would then each receive WhatsApp verification codes on their own device. The scammers would try to lure the members to post screenshots of their verification codes in the chat group to share that they are experiencing the same situation. The scammers would then use the verification codes to take over the WhatsApp accounts.
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 login attempt by entering the verification PIN that they will receive on their phone.
The scammer who was using their account will be automatically logged out after that.
Besides not sharing their WhatsApp account verification codes with others, the police has also advised the public to:
- Beware of unusual requests received over WhatsApp from both contacts and strangers.
- Make sure not to send bank details or such sensitive data over Whatsapp.
- Individuals should call their friends to verify the authenticity of the request. They should not do so through the social media platform as the account may have been taken over by scammers.
- The public should also protect their WhatsApp accounts by enabling the two-step verification function, under "Account" in the "Settings" tab of WhatsApp. This feature means that any attempt to verify their phone number on WhatsApp must be accompanied by the six-digit PIN that users created.
- Users whose WhatsApp account has been taken over may recover it by signing into WhatsApp using their phone number. To authenticate, they should enter the verification PIN sent to their phone by SMS. After that, the scammer using their account will be automatically logged out.