At least 10 people fall victim to WhatsApp account takeover scam in January: Police

WhatsApp accounts are compromised after victims supposedly receive a message from a friend asking for their WhatsApp verification code.
WhatsApp accounts are compromised after victims supposedly receive a message from a friend asking for their WhatsApp verification code.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - At least 10 people have fallen prey so far this month to scammers who take over their WhatsApp accounts and use them to get money or gift cards, the police said on Friday (Jan 11).

In a statement, the police warned the public against being duped by such scams, where WhatsApp accounts are compromised after victims supposedly receive a WhatsApp message from a friend asking for their WhatsApp verification code.

The victims lose access to their WhatsApp account after sending over the verification code to the friend whose account was first compromised.

Police said that scammers have used accounts they took over to deceive other unsuspecting victims into transferring money or sending over Money Online points which can be used to make online purchases.

Some victims are also known to have bought gift cards and sent the codes for the cards to the scammers.

The scammers then sell the gift cards' codes online.

Police have advised the public to be wary of unusual requests received over WhatsApp, even if they were sent by their WhatsApp contacts.

 

They should also call their friend to verify the authenticity of the request.

In addition, the public can protect their WhatsApp accounts by enabling a two-step verification feature, which is available under "account" in the "settings" tab on WhatsApp.

Those who wish to provide information about such scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or send the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

For scam-related advice, call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg