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Police Scotland: WhatsApp scam that steals access to a victims’ WhatsApp account

Police Scotland has sent out an awareness alert regarding a WhatsApp scam.

The scam begins when a criminal gets access to another WhatsApp users’ account, which has you listed as a contact.

The criminal, posing as your friend or someone that’s a member of a WhatsApp group you’re in, will begin sending you seemingly normal messages to try and start a conversation with you.

However, around the same time as the WhatsApp message, you will receive a text message from WhatsApp with a six digit code. This is because the criminal has been trying to login to WhatsApp using your mobile number and WhatsApp want to authenticate the user.

The criminal will claim that they sent you their code by accident and ask you to help them by sending it to them. Once you send the code back, the criminal can use the code to authenticate the login to your WhatsApp account and lock you out.

The criminal will then use the same tactic with your WhatsApp contacts in an effort to steal more accounts and use them to perpetrate fraud.

What you need to do to help protect against this Fraud:

  • Set up two-step verification to give an extra layer of protection to your account. Tap Settings > Account >Two-step verification > Enable.
  • STOP. THINK. CALL. If a family member or friend makes an unusual request on WhatsApp, always call the person to confirm the message is actually from them.
  • Never share your accounts’ activation code (that’s the 6 digit code you receive via SMS)
  • You can report spam messages or block a sender within WhatsApp. Press and hold on the message bubble, select ‘Report’ and then follow the instructions.

If you have been a victim of crime, and it is not an ongoing emergency, you can report this to Police
Scotland on 101.

This alert was sent out for your information by Police Scotland.

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