SINGAPORE - Beware of WhatsApp messages asking for personal information or sharing links, even if they are from familiar contacts, said the police.
They might be impersonated by a scammer hoping to obtain banking credentials or one-time passwords (OTPs).
In an advisory issued on Sunday (March 7), the police warned about recent banking-related phishing cases involving WhatsApp accounts that had been compromised.
Scammers took over people's WhatsApp accounts by getting a six-digit account verification code from the victims directly or through their voicemail accounts using the default PIN used by telco providers. This code, sent by SMS or a voice call, which may go to voicemail if the user does not pick up, is required to verify a phone number linked to the account.
Using these compromised WhatsApp accounts, scammers message the victims' friends or contacts to trick them into revealing their personal information or send them phishing links to fake websites to collect their bank credentials and OTPs.
These victims then learn that they have been scammed only when they discover unauthorised transactions made from their bank accounts, the police said.
The police advised people to be vigilant by not sharing their WhatsApp account verification codes, personal information, banking details and OTPs with anyone.
They can also protect themselves from such scams by enabling the two-step verification feature to create a six-digit PIN code that must be entered to access the account. Setting an associated e-mail address allows the user to reset the PIN to safeguard the account and lock the scammer out if the account gets compromised.
The police said people should change their voicemail account's default PIN or deactivate the voicemail service by contacting their telco.
Those with information related to such scams are advised to call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit it online.
For more information on scams, people can visit the Scam Alert website or call the anti-scam hotline at 1800-722-6688. They can also sign up as an advocate here to receive updated messages and share them with their close ones.