How to detect scammers on WhatsApp

whatsapp fraud

There are also many scammers on WhatsApp. Today we will explain how you can best protect yourself in the messenger and not fall into the trap.

“Hello dad, I have a new number. Please save it,” is what criminals write to their victims on WhatsApp. A short time later they ask for money. Such scams cause total damage in the millions every year with fraud via WhatsApp and other messengers. Technoeager reveals what you should pay attention to, how to stay safe and what to do if you do fall into the trap.

WhatsApp: How to protect yourself from fraud

A popular trick used by cybercriminals is to send a message impersonating a son, daughter or grandson, asking for money for car repairs, for example. Others are trying to get the registration number you received when you set up WhatsApp and use it to take over the account. And still others pretend to be police officers to put pressure on you. If you pay, there is a high probability that the money will be gone. “Identifying the criminals is difficult because the amounts involved are often relatively small and transcend national borders. It is all the more important that each individual protects and protects himself,” explains Harald Schmidt, Managing Director of the state and federal police crime prevention 

department, which has been working with WhatsApp since 2021 to increase user security awareness. Foreign prosecutors rarely take action in individual cases where a few thousand euros are “only” at stake. And it is difficult to assign several victims to the same perpetrator. Therefore, you must take action and protect yourself:

  • If someone asks you for money or personal data via WhatsApp, have their identity confirmed, for example with a voice message, a phone call or a video call. If the chat partner refuses, do not give out any money or data.
  • Never give out the registration number that you received as an SMS when setting up WhatsApp. This is only used to activate your account on a device.
  • Set up a PIN for your WhatsApp account (see below). This serves as two-factor authentication.
  • Share your profile picture with contacts only.
  • Find out about current phishing scams.
  • Be skeptical about unknown numbers. If someone calls and claims they are your son and have a new cell phone, call the old number. This is often not true at all and the fraud flies up so quickly.
  • Don’t click on links you don’t know where they lead to.
  • Ignore chain letters.
  • Check if you want to use an antivirus app on your Android or iOS device. They often offer additional protection against phishing.

WhatsApp: set up two-factor authentication

With a PIN in WhatsApp you protect your account from unauthorized access. Only those who know your registration number and PIN can activate your WhatsApp account on a device. Nothing changes for you in daily use. To set up two-factor authentication:

  1. Open the settings in WhatsApp.
  2. Click Account , 2-Step Verification, and Activate.
  3. Enter a six-digit PIN, confirm and write it down. You need this PIN whenever you want to transfer WhatsApp to another device.
  4. Enter your email address and tap Next.
  5. Confirm the email address.

This is what you should do if you are a victim of fraud

The criminals are constantly developing new tricks and scams and anyone can fall for them. Nobody needs to be ashamed of it. You should then act quickly to prevent further damage. This is the best way to proceed:

  • If you have passed on payment details or credit card numbers or initiated a payment, contact the provider as soon as possible. They can block cards and sometimes reverse payments.
  • If someone has taken over your WhatsApp account or stolen the phone, write to Meta, the maker of WhatsApp, to get the account back.
  • Also, let your contacts know that someone else might be sending messages on your behalf.
  • If there was financial damage, report it to the police. Even if the clear-up rate is low, the police can only act if they know. You may also need this display in the event of identity theft.
  • If the scammer has questioned you, also inform your contacts. With the information from you, he could start new fraud attempts.

Young people fall for phishing too

Internet and WhatsApp scams are aimed at everyone who uses the Internet, and the scammers do not distinguish between age groups. While many may think that older people fall for it, this is not true. 

Studies show that the younger generation in particular is careless and clicks on phishing links. Criminals are using more and more sophisticated tricks and really no one is completely protected from it or immediately recognizes everything as fraud.

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