Scammers prey on 'WhatsApp' users - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Scammers prey on 'WhatsApp' users

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(MGN photo) (MGN photo)

Users of a popular instant messaging app are being warned of an imposter app that can spread malicious software.

The Better Business Bureau said criminals are using the popularity of “Whatsapp” to send fraudulent emails to unsuspecting users.

"This is a wakeup call for consumers," said Howard Schwartz, the Connecticut Better Business Bureau’s executive communications director.  "This is a reminder that our portable technology is vulnerable to hacking, and that we have to be as careful with our smart phones and tablets as we are with our desktop and laptop computers."

WhatsApp allows users to send text, audio or video messages over the internet.

The BBB said criminals are forging the look and feel of the app the spread malware on phones and tablets.

It said the scam starts by users receiving an email that appears to be from WhatsApp. The subject line reads “Incoming Voice Message” and includes a timestamp.

Inside the email is the text “missed voicemail” with a button to play the message. However, clicking the button is what starts the download of a virus, according to the BBB.

WhatsApp told the BBB that it does not communicate with customers through email unless it is replying to a specific customer request.

Most apps communicate with users through the application itself. The BBB said that if a message is received elsewhere, like email, it should be a red flag.

The BBB suggested downloading antivirus software for phones, ignoring “urgent” messages with links or attachments and searching the web to verify legitimacy before clicking anything.

More information can be found on the BBB’s website here or WhatsApp’s website here.

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