Every day, crooks are finding new ways to con victims out of their hard-earned cash. These con artists do this by tricking their unwitting victims into giving out their personal details so they can access their bank accounts. Indeed, in the last couple of months, an increasing number of WhatsApp users have been receiving messages from a number pretending to be from the popular messaging app. This scam originally surfaced late last year in the UK, and it informed users that they would have to pay an annual fee of 99 pence ($1.37) if they want to continue using the app. WhatsApp is the perfect target for these con artists as the messaging app has over 1.3 billion monthly active users – so there are plenty of opportunities for people who want to earn money through dishonest means. Watch the video below and find out which WhatsApp scams are currently being used to con people out of their money:
The message being sent in this scam reads: “Your WhatsApp subscription has expired. To verify your account and purchase a lifetime subscription for just 0.99 GBP tap on this link.” Then a link is provided below the message stating: “Tap to Load preview”. Some people have also received this scam in the form of an email or from an actual WhatsApp message. But be very careful, as the message is NOT from WhatsApp and complying with their requests could put you in an extremely vulnerable position. Luckily, Twitter users in the country kept their wits about them and decided to reach out to WhatsApp and ask whether the messages were legitimate or not. Twitter user, Kieran Stevenson rightly believed the message was a scam and took to social media to confirm his suspicions. He tweeted: “I’ve just had a text from ‘Whatsapp’ saying my subscription has expired and I need to click a link to renew it. Scam, right?” Kate Davies reached out to her fellow Twitter users to check whether others had also received this alarming message. She wrote: “Anyone else received a text from #WhatsApp saying you’re subscription has expired ..but you can buy lifelong for £1?” Many other concerned WhatsApp users contacted the company directly, only to find out that they had a made a very narrow escape from being conned out of their money. For instance, Lyn Homer tweeted: “@WhatsApp I’ve just had a text message saying that I have to pay 99p for WhatsApp lifetime subscription… Is this right?” ActionFraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting center, has sent out a warning, firmly advising people to ignore the scams. “Long-term users of WhatsApp will remember paying a 0.99p annual fee to use the messaging service,” ActionFraud said. “In 2016, this was scrapped by Facebook who took over running of the company after buying it for £11.4bn,” they continued. Take note WhatsApp users, because this means that since 2016, the messaging service has been free for every single user. Therefore, any message or email you receive asking you to pay to continue using the app is definitely not legitimate. “Whilst late adopters of the service might look at the email below and simply brush it off, long-term users will remember paying and could quite easily think the app has gone back to its subscription model and get caught out,” ActionFraud added. ActionFraud have also warned people not to click on the link and to simply delete it, then report it. Unfortunately, scams of this nature will probably only increase in quantity as con artists are constantly devising new ways to trick people. However, if a phone call, message or email does seem suspicious in any way, trust your instincts. It doesn’t hurt to be too cautious, especially when it comes to your bank details.