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Top WhatsApp scams to avoid in 2022

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Nowadays, online safety is all but a given. Even a hugely popular online communication platform like WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has become a favorite tramping ground for fraudsters. Here are their most common scams, curated by experts from


Sometimes dubbed the ‘Mum and Dad Scam’, this is where scammers use WhatsApp to impersonate family members in difficulty and in particular need of money. This type of scam has evolved from fraudsters impersonating a bank, police or HMRC. It starts with a message from an unknown number, claiming to be a loved one who has just lost their phone and got a replacement. It gives them a reason for having a different number, and means they can just use a generic term like ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’, – though sometimes ‘Sis’ or ‘Bro’.

The story they tell varies, but centres on a claim that because they have a new phone they don’t have access to their internet or mobile banking app and therefore need urgent help to pay a bill. Any attempts to call to verify their identity is often fobbed off with talk that there is a problem with the microphone. Victims then transfer money to an account thinking they are really helping out their loved one. On average victims lose £1,950 this way.


If you receive a text message with a six-digit WhatsApp code that you were not expecting, you may be a target of the scam. It’s the kind of code you would need if you were setting up a new account, or logging in to your existing account on a new device. If you have not initiated this request, you should see this message as a red flag. It could be a fraudster trying to log in to your account. In the next step of the scam, you receive a WhatsApp message from a friend asking for the six-digit code. Horrible truth: it appears to come from a genuine friend because your account has already been hijacked. If you don’t spot it is a scam you will end up sending the access code for your own account to the scammer. The hijacker can go on to message your friends, family and contacts, and pretend to be you. They can access your group chats where they can see private information. They can try the six-digit code trick with new victims. They may even pretend you’re having a crisis and ask your contacts for money.


WhatsApp Gold is a scam claiming to be a special version of the messaging app used by celebrities and rich people with access to hidden features. It first appeared in 2016 and has a record of reappearing every few years – its latest appearance was in 2020. As the coronavirus pandemic is having us lean on apps like WhatsApp more than ever before and leaves us open to the need for novelty it shouldn’t come as a surprise. But any messages you receive urging you to update to WhatsApp Gold should be immediately ignored.

According to those who have been targeted, a message will drop into your inbox saying that a special version of WhatsApp is available. The message reads along the lines of: ‘Hey Finally Secret WhatsApp golden version has been leaked, This version is used only by big celebrities. Now we can use it too.’ A link will invite you to download WhatsApp Gold. However, in reality, these links can be riddled with malware that lock you out of your phone or steal valuable personal information. Many have fallen for this kind of scam, including users of top nz online casinos.


Scammers send out fake Tesco, Asda and Marks & Spencer vouchers on WhatsApp. The messages look like they have been sent by a thoughtful friend and designed to trick you into clicking on the link to claim the voucher.

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