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New WhatsApp scam out, with just one OTP message criminals hacking into WhatsApp accounts

WhatsApp users should not believe contacts who ask them for six-digit codes they are likely to receive in their inbox. It is the latest scam used to hack into WhatsApp accounts.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | April 6, 2021 | Updated 17:09 IST
(Picture: Reuters)

Highlights

  • A new WhatsApp scam is out in which hackers posing as users' friends or contacts ask for 6-digit codes.
  • The code is a confirmation that WhatsApp sends to all its users if someone tries to sign in from a different device.
  • The WhatsApp account of the message sender is likely hacked and scammers try hacking their contacts.

If you use WhatsApp and get a text from one of your friends asking for a six-digit code, you should not send it out immediately. You should first confirm from your friend, if it is indeed them, and only then should you share the code, best if it is shared over a call. If you send out the six-digit code to your friends or contacts without confirming first, you can fall prey to a scam and will end up getting your account hacked.

WhatsApp users are exposed to scams or phishing messages every now and then. More often than not, it is difficult to identify such messages. A new scam message targets users by posing as one of their contacts asking them to send a code that they receive in their inbox. The code is reportedly a confirmation code that WhatsApp sends to all its users if someone tries to sign in from a different device. As for the friend who is sending you the message asking for the code, it is very likely that his or her account has also been hacked.

Alexis Conran, a radio show host, shared about the scam on Twitter. In a series of tweets, Conran wrote, "It starts with this text message that arrives on your phone out of the blue. Immediately after you get a WhatsApp message from someone in your contacts. The message reads 'Hello, sorry I sent you a 6-digit code by SMS by mistake, Can you transfer it to me, please? It's urgent."

He further explained that the WhatsApp account of the message sender is also hacked and that scammers will try and hack their contacts

"What has actually happened is your friend's account has been hacked. Scammers are now trying to hack all their contacts. You are one of them. They are trying to set up WhatsApp on a new device with your number. WhatsApp acknowledges this and sends a 6-digit authorisation code to your mobile phone by SMS. The scammers now try and get you to forward it to them by pretending to be a friend of yours. If you send them the code, your WhatsApp will be hacked."

So how can you stop this from happening? The first step is to enable two-factor authentication or two-step verification on your WhatsApp account. Here is how users can enable two-step verification on WhatsApp. The other step is to call your friends and verify if they indeed sent the message, and also to inform them that their WhatsApp account has been compromised. Once they log in to their accounts, spammers will not be able to get access.

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