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Wednesday, June 03, 2020

An old WhatsApp scam is back to try and steal account access: Here’s how to protect yourself

According to WABetaInfo hackers are sending messages to users asking for OTP to login to the account and misuse their personal details. In fact, even steal money. Today we have listed out some tips to protect your WhatsApp account from these hackers.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 6, 2020 9:16:50 am
WhatsApp, WhatsApp hack, whatsapp account, protect whatsapp account Hackers are trying to hack into your WhatsApp account, steal data: What to do (Image: Reuters)

WhatsApp is an important messaging app for many of us, and losing access to your WhatsApp account is not something anyone wants. Given the coronavirus pandemic, WhatsApp has seen a massive jump in use cases across the world, and it looks like an old scam is also back, which tries to trick users into giving up their OTP pin for logging into WhatsApp.

The OTP pin is required when setting up a WhatsApp account. The scam, which has been around since 2018, works like this. Someone sends a message via WhatsApp or even Facebook, claiming that an OTP has been mistakenly sent to the victim.

They claim this OTP is for logging into their accounts, and ask the victim to just forward them the six-digit code. If the user takes the bait and forwards the code to the unknown number, then these cybercriminals can take over the WhatsApp account of the victim by using this to login.

A report in the UK’s Telegraph indicates that the scam appears to be back in the country and many users are being tricked into giving up their codes, which ends up compromising their account access. Previously, WABetaInfo had also highlighted the scam and how hackers were sending messages to users asking for OTP to login to the account, claiming it has been sent to them as a mistake.

Several users are complaining of receiving messages from unknown phone numbers asking for the OTP they “mistakenly” sent to them. Given most users aren’t aware of the tactics hackers use they are sending the text with the OTP to login to the WhatsApp account. Doing so is making users lose their WhatsApp account.

Never fall for these messages if in any case you receive them. It is advisable to just ignore these messages or simply block the number that you received the message from. We have listed out some tips to protect your WhatsApp account.

How to safeguard your WhatsApp account

Enable two-step verification: This feature is available for both iOS and Android phone users for a long time. To enable the two-step verification feature on WhatsApp first head over to the Setting menu > Account > Two step-verification > click on enable. You will then need to set up a PIN that only you will know.

ALSO READ: A new WhatsApp hoax is making rounds, don’t fall for it

After enabling this feature everyone you or someone else logs into your WhatsApp account will be required to provide this PIN.

Block suspicious contact: In case you receive suspicious phone number that’s not saved with you, just ignore the message and block the contact right now so they don’t send any such message anymore. To block the contact just click on the contact name > scroll down > click on block option.

Change privacy setting: Ensure to change WhatsApp privacy setting. Just head over to the Settings menu > click on Privacy option > Change profile photo option to My contacts > Change About to My Contacts > Change Groups to My Contacts > Change Status to My Contacts. Changing the options will not show your details to contacts not saved on your phone.

Ensure to logout from devices you have previously logged in: If you login to devices other than your primary phone ensure to logout once work is done so none else can access your account without your permission.

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