- Do not answer if a friend sends a Help Me text on WhatsApp
Scammers are finding new ways to trick innocent people, and their latest attempt in the UK involves WhatsApp. Meta’s popular messaging app is witnessing the Friend in Need scam that has plagued many users in the country.
In particular, this is serious enough that WhatsApp warned people not to reply to text messages “help me with money” and instead call the person for confirmation.
The “Friend in Need” scam on WhatsApp involves the scammers pretending to be someone’s relative. Victims get messages from their friends or relatives, asking for monetary help. The victim often tries to “help” at the earliest, thereby sending the money. However, the scammers get away with the money and there’s no way to track it.
“Scammers send messages that appear to come from a friend or family member asking for personal information, money, or a six-digit pin number,” said Louise Baxter, the head of the National Trading Standards. The agency says that 59 percent of the people in the UK have already got this message.
“If you receive a suspicious message… calling or requesting a voice note is the fastest and simplest way to check someone is who they say they are. A friend in need is a friend worth calling,” says WhatsApp as part of its latest awareness campaign.
Ways this scam works?
You may wonder that WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption technology; then how come are scammers able to hack your beloved ones’ WhatsApp accounts? National Trading Standards, UK says that scammers are targeting those accounts who lost their phone or are unable to login into their WhatsApp accounts.
“The messages are sent from the compromised accounts of your friends, so they look as if they’re coming from someone you know, or from an unknown number claiming to be a friend who has lost their phone or been ‘locked out of their account,” says the agency.
“These kinds of scams are particularly cruel as they prey on our kindness and desire to help friends and family,” they added, WhatsApp is also recommending users switch on the two-factor authentication system for logging into WhatsApp accounts for an additional layer of safety.