Over the past few days, several scam messages began circulating via WhatsApp – some of which tell recipients that they must pay in order to continue using the popular communications app, which has offered universal free access for several years.
There are multiple variants of the scam messages – some demand that the recipient make some payment, at least one links to a website that may be distributing malware, others tell the user that WhatsApp access will remain free only for users who forward the message onto some number of contacts, and still others state that service will be terminated altogether for users who do not forward the message – but, all are scams, and appear to have originally targeted users in India – the location of WhatsApp’s largest user base. Of course, as a result of the demand to forward, people have now spread the scam messages far and wide.
The scam exploits the technical difficulties that WhatsApp (as well as its parent company, Facebook, and sister company, Instagram) experienced last week with relation to displaying images – some of the WhatsApp scam messages even attempt to establish rapport with recipients by apologizing for the inconvenience caused by the outage, and by promising that the firm is working diligently to deliver a quick fix.
Here is the bottom line: You can (and should) ignore any messages that you receive this week telling you that you have to take some action in order to preserve your free access to WhatsApp.
And, going forward, if you ever receive a similar type of message and are not sure what to do, you can do a Google News Search on relevant terms to see what sources, if any, corroborate the story. In some cases, you may learn that the message that you received is the real deal – and that service terms have changed. However, far more frequently, not only will you not find any reliable sources conveying news about such a development, but you will find articles like this one telling you that the message that you received is part of a scam.You can (and should) ignore any messages that you receive this week telling you that you have to take some action in order to preserve your free access to WhatsApp. Click To Tweet