Due to its large userbase, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is often targeted by scams and fraudsters. Now, the instant messaging app is yet again being used to propagate a new scam in the UK, with the intention of tricking users into disclosing their bank account details.
UK’s fraud and cybercrime centre – Action Fraud – has issued a warning against the ongoing fraud, complete with a screenshot of the fake WhatsApp message that’s being used for the same.
The message, which is reportedly signed by ‘WhatsApp Team,’ reads, “Our records indicate that your WhatsApp trial service is exceeding the one year period. At the completion of the trial period, your WhatsApp will no longer be able to send or receive messages. To continue using WhatsApp without interruption, we need you to subscribe for any of our subscription periods.”
The message then provides a link to a customer portal for users to sign-in with their number, in order to update their “payment information.”
A similar scam was reported last month, tricking users into paying charges by mentioning that their WhatsApp subscription had expired.
A report by Independent website mentioned, “People are being targeted by a message that reads ‘your subscription has expired, and to verify your account and purchase a lifetime subscription for just 0.99 GBP simply tap on this link.'”
Even though the scam is going on in the UK, given WhatsApp’s large user base in India, it might not take long for something similar to arrive here as well. The instant messaging service has been completely free to download and use on all platforms since January 2016, when it dropped a small annual subscription charge that users were required to pay in order to continue using WhatsApp.
Recently, WhatsApp received permission from National Payments Corporation of India(NPCI) to enter into partnership with multiple banks, in order to allow users make in-app payments and money transfers using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
UPI enables account-to-account transfers from a mobile app without having any details of the beneficiary’s bank. This is the first time that NPCI, an umbrella organization for all retail payment systems in India, has approved a mobile app to enter into multi-bank partnerships.