The South African Police Services (Saps) have warned South Africans of a new scam that attempts to steal people’s WhatsApp accounts.
Social media users have been urged not to share any personal information about themselves with anyone following the new modus operandi by criminals to impersonate users on Facebook or Meta-owned platforms.
According to police, users will receive a text message from a scam artist to lure them into the trap.
“You will receive an SMS from a person claiming that they sent you a six-digit code by mistake. They will ask you to share that code as a matter of urgency.
“Hello, I’m sorry I sent you a six-digit code by SMS by mistake can you transfer it to me it’s urgent.’”
Police have urged WhatsApp users not to forward any messages or share messages with personal information.
“Don’t do it! If you received an SMS with a six-digit code, you should not share that code with anyone. If you send that code to a scammer, they can log into your WhatsApp account. Keep your WhatsApp account safe.”
Police have also urged WhatsApp users to enable two-step authentication on their WhatsApp accounts.
“Tap on the contact that sent you the message and check what affiliation you have with that person if it is a number that you don’t recognise. You should also block that number so that they cannot contact you again.”
Lastly, report that number to WhatsApp so that they can have that account suspended,” the police said.
WhatsApp for smartphones was created in 2009 by two former Yahoo employees, Brian Acton and Jan Koum.
WhatsApp is one of the most used apps in the world and the most popular messaging app in over 100 countries. It reached 2.2 billion active users in 2021.