WhatsApp, the instant messaging app that has become mainstream in India and elsewhere in the world, has seen its quota of scams in the past. The latest avatar, like its precedents, uses a one-time password (OTP) to gain access to your account.
Whenever you buy a new phone, WhatsApp sends out a six-digit OTP so that you can open your account on it and retrieve your chat archive.
According to media reports, hackers send WhatsApp users a message that is made to seem like it is from an acquaintance. “Hello, sorry, I sent you a 6-digit code by mistake, can you pass it to me, please?” it reads. “It’s urgent.”
When the gullible user shares the code through a reply, the scamsters hack his/her account. It leaves the user logged out of WhatsApp. Once the hackers take it, they gain access to the account instead of the user.
WARNING: WHATSAPP SCAM
3 members of my family have lost access to their WhatsApp this morning!
Hackers send a text message from WA with a verification code, then a WhatsApp text from someone you know saying they desperately need the code.
DO NOT SEND THE CODE OR CLICK THE LINK pic.twitter.com/T8dqPydH3N
— Tommy Wathen (@tommywathen) May 18, 2021
Losing access to your WhatsApp account can do you immeasurable harm. Hackers can delve into your messages and sell the information gleaned from it on the dark web, which is used for nefarious activities. With the increasing use of WhatsApp for commercial purposes, a hacking event can cost you dearly.
Among the victims of the latest scam is British radio personality Jeremy Vine. The scamsters reportedly used Vine’s contact list to target his friends, too.
Call the friend
So how do you protect your account?
WhatsApp Getting Hacked!
If u receive this kind of message and if any person on your WhatsApp(even if known) asks you to fwd the same, pls don’t fwd.Fraudsters are using this to take control of WhatsApp account.
We have received few such complaints & seek cooperation @WhatsApp pic.twitter.com/kr2KjonLb6
— Jt CP Crime, Kolkata (@KPDetectiveDept) May 21, 2021
When you get a message asking for an OTP share, call the friend to find out why he/she asked for the code. Ideally, do not forward the OTP, or share a screenshot.
There is little reason for your friend’s OTP to land on your phone, or for you to share yours with him/her. So, by default, ignore such messages.