This new WhatsApp scam could steal messages and hack your family - here’s what to look out for

Woman on her phone
(Image credit: Getty Images)

WhatsApp has risen to become one of the world’s most popular messaging platforms since it first released in 2009.

Now it reportedly has 1 billion active users every day. But with so many people using the app, it’s perhaps no surprise that WhatsApp has become the target of scammers.

Now a new WhatsApp scam has been going around and it could allow hackers access to your account. Not only that, but your families’ accounts could also be at risk. 

But what exactly is this new scam and how can you avoid it? Here we reveal what to look out for and how you can stop yourself falling victim to this WhatsApp scam.

What is the new WhatsApp scam?

This new scam takes place after a hacker has already gained access to the account of someone in your contacts list. They message you, purporting to be their contact and all messages appear at first glance to be from the person you expect.

During the conversation with this person, you could then receive a message containing a six digit code verification code.

The scammer then pretends that it was sent to you by mistake and asks to be told the code.

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If this code is given over to the scammer, they will then have access to your entire WhatsApp account. 

Things could then get even worse. The scammers could also gain access to your contacts’ accounts by pulling the same trick on them, pretending to be you.

How can you avoid being a victim of a WhatsApp scam?

Beware of verification code messages

If you are given a six digit verification code and you didn’t request one - be wary. These codes are only sent through when you are making changes to your WhatsApp account.

This code should never be shared with anyone - even if you believe they are a friend or family members.

Two-step verification

You could also turn on ‘two-step verification’ on your WhatsApp account. 

To do this, simply head to Settings > Account > Two Step Verification > Enable.

WhatsApp social media logo with a security padlock

This will ensure that your WhatsApp account is also protected by a pin, adding another layer of safety. You will be asked to choose and create a six digit pin.

WhatsApp also offers the option to Provide an email address that you have access to. This will then allow you to reset two-step verification and again help safeguard your account. 

Try ringing your contact

And if you’re still not sure and receive a suspicious message you’re not 100% sure is from a genuine contact, why not try ringing them? That is the quickest way to establish the source of the message. It will help you to safeguard you and your contacts' accounts. 

Above all keep an eye out for any unusual activity or messages and make your WhatsApp as protected as possible.

It’s far better to be safe than sorry! 

Emma Shacklock
Senior Lifestyle Writer

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home,, and My Imperfect Life.