Police warn against scammers alerting WhatsApp users to account takeover scams

   Members of the public who receive such requests should call their friends to verify their authenticity, but should not do so using WhatsApp, as their friends' accounts may have been taken over by scammers.
Members of the public who receive such requests should call their friends to verify their authenticity, but should not do so using WhatsApp, as their friends' accounts may have been taken over by scammers.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The police have issued a warning against scammers who attempt to take over WhatsApp accounts, by first pretending to warn the account owners about WhatsApp takeover scams.

On Wednesday (May 29), the police said that in such scams, a scammer would first take control of a victim's WhatsApp account.

They would then post a fake screenshot of a WhatsApp account verification code request in a chat group that the victim was in, under the pretence of alerting the members of the group to WhatsApp takeover scams.

At the same time, the scammer would attempt to log in to the WhatsApp accounts of the chat group's members, causing them to each receive WhatsApp verification codes on their own device.

The scammer would do this to try and trick the group members into posting screenshots of the verification codes they received in the group chat, under the belief that they were also experiencing the same "takeover scam".

Once a group member posted his code in the chat, the scammer would use it to take control of his account.

Noting that such scams have been reported overseas, the police advised members of the public not to share their WhatsApp account verification codes with anybody, and to beware of unusual requests received over WhatsApp, even if they were sent by one's WhatsApp contacts.

Members of the public who receive such requests should call their friends to verify their authenticity, but should not do so using WhatsApp, as their friends' accounts may have been taken over by scammers.

 
 

The police said that WhatsApp users can protect their accounts by enabling the "Two-Step Verification" feature, which can be found under "Account" in the "Settings" tab of the application.

In the event that someone has their WhatsApp account taken over by a scammer, they can recover it by signing into the app using their phone number and verification code, which will be sent to their phone.

Doing this will also cause the scammer who has taken over the account to be automatically logged out.

Members of the public who wish to provide any scam-related information may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness