Singapore – The Singapore Police Force (SPF) released a new crime advisory of a scam involving the hacking of WhatsApp accounts.
On July 9 (Tuesday), the SPF posted a crime advisory on their Facebook page captioned, “Resurgence of scams involving takeover of WhatsApp accounts.”
According to the police, the scam would begin with a target receiving a WhatsApp message (from a registered number on the victim’s contact list, whose account has already been hacked) asking for a six-digit verification code sent to the victim’s phone.
The contact may apologise for the mistake and say that they accidentally sent the code to your phone instead of theirs and that they need it urgently.
While it may look innocent and probable, once someone falls for the trap and sends the verification code, the victim will lose control of his WhatsApp account because the scammer was trying to hack the target’s account all along.
The SPF has gone on to provide some safety and prevention measures on their post.
The first and most important is to never share verification codes with anyone.
Another piece of advice is to take extra caution on unusual requests even though it comes from someone you know.
Take the time and effort to call your contact to verify their request but avoid authenticating via social media because their accounts could have already been hacked. A call or text would be best.
To protect your account, it is advised to enable the “Two-Step Verification” feature located in WhatsApp settings.
“In the event that your WhatsApp account has been taken over by a scammer, you can recover the account by signing into your WhatsApp using your phone number and authenticate by entering the verification PIN which you will receive on your phone,” said the SPF. “The scammer who is using your account will automatically be logged out thereafter.”
WhatsApp has this useful feature that prohibits an account from being active on more than one phone at the same time.
One can quickly gain back control of their account via the six-digit pin if your account has been hacked.
For any information related to such scams, the SPF gave the following hotline to call, 1800-255-0000, or submit a report online via www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.
The following are some screenshots provided by the police, which are some examples of what these scam messages look like.