By Laura Tyrell*
Getting victims' phone numbers is not difficult. In general, we are the ones who put ourselves at risk by sharing our contact on shopping sites, social networks, sales advertisements. The first step is to try to log in the user's account on another device, which will receive a 6-digit SMS to verify the account. That's where the action of the putschists.
And it is needed to perform some procedure. With that, the criminals manage to activate WhatsApp on their devices and start firing messages asking for money from the victim's contacts, posing as her.
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If this happens to you, inform your friends and family so that they do not fall for the scam and transfer the requested amounts. To recover the cloned account, look in the app menu for the option “help” and then “contact us” and start the conversation with the support and, if possible, send screenshots of the scammers' conversation. Another option is the email email@example.com, where you must report what happened, similar to the process by the application. On the official WhatsApp page you can also find help, in "contact us" and "contact us" in the tab "support for WhatsApp Messenger" and then fill in the form with information such as name, email, type of operating system that uses and send.
Another alert is for those who leave the app logged on to computers where other people can access conversations. It is always recommended to log out when finished using the messenger. If you forget logged in, it is possible to receive notices by cell phone informing you that the Web version is logged in and log out via the cell phone (WhatsApp Web – exit all sessions?).
To protect yourself from this action, simply activate the application's “two-step verification” mode. For this, just go to "settings", "account" and activate this option. Then, you create a password that will be requested whenever the account is installed on another device – even if the person falls for the scam and informs the criminals the access code sent via SMS.
Technology is undoubtedly our ally, but care cannot be neglected!
*Laura Tyrell is head of PR at NordVPN
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