Police warn against WhatsApp scams

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

At least 10 people have fallen victim so far this month to scammers who took over their WhatsApp accounts and used them to get money or gift cards.

The police, in a statement Friday (Jan 11) warned the public against being duped by such scams, in which WhatsApp accounts are compromised after victims receive a WhatsApp message from a supposed 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.

The police said scammers have used accounts they took over to deceive other unsuspecting victims into transferring money or sending over 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-card codes online.

The 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.

WhatsApp accounts can also be protected by enabling a two-step verification feature, which is available under "Account" in the "Settings" tab within the app.

To provide information about such scams, call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit 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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2019, with the headline 'Police warn against WhatsApp scams'. Print Edition | Subscribe