With 1.5 billion (as of October 2018) active users, you can see why WhatsApp has become an attractive target for cybercriminals and scam artists. Even though the messaging platform has taken steps to help WhatsApp users protect themselves from scams, people still fall victim to these schemes.

Here are some of the more popular examples, so please be aware:

1. Your WhatsApp has expired and you need to pay to renew your subscription

This scam is an oldie but a goodie. WhatsApp has publicly stated countless times that the platform will remain free indefinitely.

However, if you were a victim of this scam and clicked the link it is recommended that you run a Malware scan and contact your bank if you handed over any details.

2. WhatsApp Sextortion

In the first quarter of last year, over 30 cases of this had already been reported.

What happens?
• Generally, A scammer will message a victim on
• WhatsApp and will then sends them erotic photos of (presumably) themselves.
• The victim is then asked to reciprocate and send back nude/erotic pictures.
• Once sent, the scammer threatens to publicly shame the victim unless they pay a fee.
• If the victim refuses to send pictures, often the scammer will use a photo editing tool to doctor images to depict the male victim.

Do not trust messages from people you do not know and when in doubt report the number as spam.

3. WhatsApp 4G and WhatsApp “Ultra Light Wi-Fi”

How cool! Your phone supports ‘Ultra-Lift Wifi’! Say what? We smell a scam. If you click, it will take you to a survey which has you filling out personal information as well as allowing hackers access to your IP address and other online details. This can lead to any number of scams, including something as serious as digital identity theft.

4. Fake vouchers

Sound too good to be true? It is! Often the link takes you to a survey where the fraudsters capture your details which again can be used for Identity theft, you also might land on an automatic redirect to an advertising network that attempts to hijack the browser homepage, which in turn serves up advertising pages for a variety of scams and dubious products.

How to Protect Yourself

Employing common sense tips to avoid malware is the first step. The second is to educate yourself so you know what’s real and what’s a scam.

WhatsApp itself has laid out a few signs to watch out for. If you get a message that has any of the following attributes, consider it to be spam or malicious:
•  The sender claims to be affiliated with WhatsApp.
•  The message content includes instructions to forward the message.
•  The message claims you can avoid punishment, like account suspension, if you forward the message.
•  The message content includes a reward or gift from WhatsApp or another person.

To find out more facts and statistics about WhatsApp please visit https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/whatsapp-statistics/