A new scam targeting WhatsApp users has recently been identified. People using the popular messaging app have been warned to be careful when they receive messages from an account claiming to be WhatsApp Support.

What can even be more tricky is that some of the fake support accounts feature a profile photo that contains a verified badge that may convince people that they’re genuine.

The scam was first reported by a blog dedicated to news about WhatsApp called WABetaInfo on Apr 23.

The blog said that a fake account had messaged a WhatsApp user with the goal of obtaining the user’s vital personal information.

The scammer’s MO has been to ask for a verification code in order to get access to their account details, or, as proof of ID, and even ask for users’ credit card details.

WABetaInfo explained how to tell the difference between verified accounts on WhatsApp, as opposed to scammers.

A verified contact has a verified badge placed next to the contact name on the conversation screen when you chat with them. When a verified badge is seen in a different place, such as on a profile photo, the person you’re chatting with is likely to be a scammer.

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WABetaInfo also posted a graphic to help WhatsApp users distinguish between real and fake verified accounts.

Photo: Screengrab/ wabetainfo.com

“These contacts want to get some private information from you, for example, your credit card details to avoid terminating your WhatsApp account. In some cases, they also ask for your 6-digit code to log into your WhatsApp account!,” reads the Apr 23 blog entry on WABetaInfo.

“WhatsApp never asks for details about your credit card and information like your 6-digit code or two-step verification PIN. WhatsApp doesn’t even ask for money or confidential information to avoid terminating accounts. If someone wants to get this information, it means it is a fake account that’s trying to scam you.“

The article goes on to say that such accounts must be blocked and reported by WhatsApp users. When you report an account, the last five messages from your chat with the suspicious account will be shared with the official WhatsApp moderation team in order for them to understand the context of your conversation. They will suspend the account afterwards. 

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A suspicious account can be reported this way: Long press a single message from the account. When the context menu pops up, hit “report.”

In order to block a contact, open the chat and choose the “block” option. This will prevent the account from sending you any further messages. /TISG

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