Have you heard of WhatsApp? What started as the joke of a punchline, “what app?”, has now become one of (or maybe) “the” most popular messaging and calling app.
While WhatsApp is known for its privacy features and free worldwide web calling, it is also known for containing scammers and tricksters. Don’t end up using the app and losing cash to an online criminal! This is everything you need to know to use WhatsApp safely and enjoyably.
First, What is WhatsApp?
Started in 2009, WhatsApp has changed the way we think of messaging. It is now one of the most popular apps of its kind. The draw is that the app service is free and allows users to communicate between desktop and mobile devices across the planet.
Some users want to avoid long-distance plans, others lack cell phone service, while various WhatsApp users want a handy messaging app. The only problem is that romance scammers, catfish, and con artists are also using the messaging app in droves.
Many of them will use the platform to trick people out of money, illegally. For scammers, it makes sense, as they can sign up without giving away their real identity.
Here are some of the most common WhatsApp scams:
You receive a message from a stranger. Somehow, they begin a conversation that has you intrigued. Maybe they compliment you or ask you a question. The stranger, unfortunately, is a scammer who wants you to wire them money or online gift cards. If you continue the conversation, you’ll find out the hard way.
Fake Job Offer
Are you looking for a job? Great!
Just don’t trust an unsolicited WhatsApp scammer. If the job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Legitimate jobs aren’t just offered through WhatsApp. Avoid job posts that are online only and lack a real interview process.
The fake job scammer might ask for your personal information and steal it (identity theft) or try and get you to pay them for the opportunity, by paying for (supposedly) “necessary” equipment.
Similar to fake job offers, a fraudulent investment will want to give you money, as long as you deposit money to them first. When you go to collect the fruits of your investment, you’ll find the other person(s) account deleted or your account blocked by the con artist.
How to Stay Safe on WhatsApp
It’s okay to block a stranger’s messages. To stay safe, block unsolicited messages from anyone you don’t know personally. Encourage friends and family to do the same.
Do not interact with any prospective employers or employees through WhatsApp. Instead, connect through LinkedIn or an actual company email (after inspecting their website).
Before you block a stranger’s messages, the best thing to do would be not to open them, to begin with.
Beware of WhatsApp Love
Love through WhatsApp does happen, but legitimate love connections are far less common than romance scammers. Romance scammers use the app to lure in victims with compliments and promises of true love. They can be useful and sound believable. After the scammer has your heart, they’ll come for your wallet.
Part of our goal at Social Catfish is to educate internet users about the risks they might encounter online and within trusted apps. These risks often come from scammers, fraudsters, hackers, and con artists. Keeping data and information safe is crucial, and education is what can protect you from being tricked by your next online friend, date, app connection, etc.
Go to Social Catfish and search your online connections by name, email, username, phone number, and image! You can even search people by their social media profile pics!