There are many scams on WhatsApp. But now there is a particularly nasty one in circulation that can cost users their WhatsApp account in the worst case.
A single call can currently cause a lot of damage via WhatsApp. At least if users enter a certain sequence of digits. But what exactly is behind the current WhatsApp call scam? atechbook clarifies.
Fraudsters are currently sending messages via Messenger in which they ask users to call back a specific number. However, the number contains a specific sequence of digits that, when entered into the phone to start the WhatsApp call, allows scammers to hijack the account. So anyone who currently receives WhatsApp messages asking them to call a special number should be careful. As Computer BILD warns, the new scam behind it first appeared in India.
Fraud via WhatsApp call – beware of this sequence of digits
The fraudulent phone numbers can be recognized by a sequence of digits, which are indicated with an asterisk, warn the colleagues of ComputerBILD. The new scam has appeared for the first time in India. For Germany, the dangerous number combination is **21*; in previous cases – especially in India – the number was preceded by **67* or *405*.
The characters, which at first seem harmless, are a so-called GSM code that serves as a control command for smartphones. This allows scammers to set up call forwarding and call blocking – and ultimately redirect all calls to the scammers’ devices.
After a call, the account is gone
What happens after a call to this number? According to ComputerBILD, criminals take over the WhatsApp accounts of their victims and deposit their own smartphone as a new device. Since a new WhatsApp device can usually be confirmed by a control call, verification by means of call forwarding is not a problem. The trade magazine warns that fraudsters can legitimize themselves as users of the account and possibly also change the phone numbers, thus gaining full control over the account.
This means that it will be difficult to get your account back, as fraudsters can now log in. The trade magazine warns that fraudsters take advantage of the circumstance and send messages to their own contacts in the name of the victims or spread the manipulated phone number to take over other accounts.
Would you like to know how to access important WhatsApp messages quickly and without a long search? Then take a look at our tip:
How can you protect yourself?
Basically, it is relatively easy to protect yourself from WhatsApp call scams. First of all, you should always be careful when you receive messages from unknown users. It is best to block the contact and delete the message. To block a contact on WhatsApp and avoid a possible scam like the one from the call, go to the corresponding chat and click on the icon with the three dots in the top right corner there. Under “More” you will find the option “Block”, which will prevent the contact from sending further messages to you in the future.
Messages whose recipients you do not know should be ignored in any case. Under no circumstances should you call a phone number specified there! To protect your WhatsApp account from call fraud or similar scams, we also recommend activating two-factor authentication. And this is how it can be set up:
- In the app, click on the icon with the three dots in the upper right corner.
- Go to the “Settings” and then to “Account”.
- Here you will find “Verification in two steps”
- Activate it and set a 6-digit code that only you know
With material from dpa