Whatsapp users warned over scam giving crooks access to private messages

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 2:03 pm
Users are warned not to send on the code (Photo: Shutterstock)

Whatsapp users are being warned of a circulating scam which could provide crooks access to private messages.

Users have reported receiving messages which request a six-digit code, which, if sent, gives the sender access to messages and locks people out of their account.

‘Do not send the code’

When a handset is upgraded, WhatsApp generates a six digit code to allow users access to messages that are archived in their chats.

However, fraudulent messages have been duping recipients to unwittingly hand over access to their account, after believing the message to be genuine.

People who have fallen victim to the scam have shared the message on social media as a warning to others not to send the requested code, or follow the link.

The fake message seemingly appears to be from a friend and states: “Hello, sorry, I sent you a 6-digit code by mistake, can you pass it to me please? It's urgent?”

One WhatsApp user warned that members of his family had lost access to their accounts after falling victim to the scam, and urged others to be wary.

Writing on Twitter, the user said: "Three members of my family have lost access to their WhatsApp this morning.

"Hackers send a text message from WA with a verification code, then a WhatsApp text from someone you know saying they desperately need the code.

“Do not send the code or click the link."

Radio 2 presenter Jermey Vine is among those who have been duped by the message, and said criminals had been able to use his contact list to target more people.

Reporting fraudulent messages

Action Fraud recommends being wary of fraudulent messages that:

  • are unsolicited and supposedly come from a reputable organisation, such as a bank or credit card company
  • encourage you urgently to visit a website or call a number to verify or update your details
  • request your personal information such as username, password or bank account

If you do receive a suspicious message you should not reply to it, and be cautious about clicking on any links that may be embedded, or calling a number that may be provided.

If you have responded to a message that you suspect to be a scam and gave your bank account details, you should contact your bank immediately.

To report a scam, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or report it online.