A new WhatsApp scam has emerged in which an account that pretends as an official communication source for WhatsApp technical team asks users to share their verification code. The account uses a WhatsApp logo as its profile picture to convince users. However, it is important to highlight that WhatsApp teams don't use the messaging app to communicate with users and instead use social media channels, including Twitter or the company's official blog to send public announcements.
WhatsApp features tracker WABetaInfo posted a tweet to highlight the latest scam after a Twitter user Dario Navarro enquired about a fishy message that the users had received. As per a screenshot shared by Navarro, the scammer sends a message in Spanish asking users to verify their identity by providing their six-digit verification code that comes via an SMS message.
This is #FAKE. WhatsApp doesn't message you on WhatsApp, and if they do (for global announcements, but it's soooo rare), a green verified indicator is visible.— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) May 27, 2020
WhatsApp never asks your data or verification codes.@WhatsApp should ban this account. 😅 https://t.co/nnOehPL8Ca
The verification code is used to activate a WhatsApp account on a new device. It is aimed to protect user accounts on the messaging app from bad actors.
WhatsApp doesn't ask for any personal information, including verification codes
Since the scammer uses the WhatsApp logo as the profile picture for the account in question, unaware users may fall for it. However, as noted by the WaBetaInfo, WhatsApp doesn't message users on the app, and if it would in a rare circumstance, a green verified indicator will be visible alongside the logo and the account name. It is also important to note that the Facebook-owned company doesn't ask users to provide any of their data, including verification codes.
Therefore, the message seen in the screenshot is nothing but a scam to gain account access. You should not pay attention to any such messages.
WhatsApp has clearly mentioned that users are advised to not share the SMS verification code with others on its website. “If someone is trying to take over your account, they need the SMS verification code sent to your phone number to do so. Without this code, any user attempting to verify your number can't complete the verification process and use your phone number on WhatsApp,” the company wrote in its FAQs section.
You can also get back your stolen account by re-verifying your phone number in case you've accidentally shared the verification code with someone else, as defined in another FAQ post by WhatsApp.
Notably, this isn't the first time when a scam has emerged in which users are being asked to provide their verification codes. The process of hijacking WhatsApp accounts by acquiring the verification code isn't new. Due to the coronavirus outbreak-led surge in WhatsApp usage recently, some hackers tried to obtain verification codes of WhatsApp users in markets including the UK by contacting victims as if they're their known friends. A similar issue was reported back in 2018 as well.
In 2020, will WhatsApp get the killer feature that every Indian is waiting for? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.