Giant messaging app WhatsApp is currently being targeted by fraudsters and identity thieves. Users have been warned from giving out their personal bank details since the app does not request its users to share this kind of sensitive data in such manner even if the message looks like any regular official messages sent by Whatsapp to its subscribers.
The scam message is sent to users to warn them that their trial period is coming an end, and that they should renew to a lifetime subscription for 99p. Here is the content of the scam message:
“Our records indicate that your WhatsApp trial service is exceeding the one-year period,” [...] “At the completion of your trial period your WhatsApp will no longer be able to send or receive message [sic]. To continue using WhatsApp without interruption [sic], we need you to subscribe for any of our subscription periods.”
Although when it first came out WhatsApp used to charge a small amount of money for a subscription, but this policy was terminated when Facebook bought the company in 2014. According to Action Fraud, UK’s national centre for reporting scams and fraudulent activities:
“Long term users of WhatsApp will remember paying a 0.99p annual fee to use the messaging service. In 2016, this was scrapped by Facebook who took over running of the company after buying it for £11.4bn.”
This means, that any messages asking you to pay for your WhatsApp subscription are absolutely fraudulent and you should not fall for such scams. Action Fraud said that this is not the first time they receive alerts regarding these scams.
“Whilst late adopters of the service might look at the email below and simply brush it off, long term users will remember paying and could quite easily think the app has gone back to its subscription model and get caught out,” said Action Fraud.
If you receive this kind of scam messages, all you need to do in order to avoid getting them in the future, is to block the message sender. You can simply hit the “block” button at the top of your conversation screen, and then report the sender for spam.