Uses WhatsApp SMS

WhatsApp: Beware, Scammers! Police warn against this old scam

In the area around Cloppenburg and Vechta, a new variant of a well-known scam via WhatsApp has appeared.If you fall into the trap, you lose access to your account.

After several cases over the weekend, the police station in Cloppenburg / Vechta warns of fraudulent WhatsApp messages that have already occurred in a similar form elsewhere. The perpetrators are targeting their victims' WhatsApp accounts - or quite simply: money. In the two districts of Cloppenburg and Vechta alone, there have already been several injured parties and criminal charges.

The scammers are said to have tried to transfer the WhatsApp accounts of those affected to a new number. To do this, they ask for the so-called verification code. If you pass this code on, you will lose access to your WhatsApp account.

It is a variant of an already known mesh. The hijacked accounts are then misused, for example to beg the contacts for money or to trick other users with the same scam.

Messages also come from friends

And this is how the fraud works: Users first receive a message via WhatsApp. It says, for example: "Hey! Can you give me a hand? You will get a text message in a moment. Can you forward me the code in the message?" A slightly modified version of the message is currently supposed to be spreading.

These messages do not necessarily come from a strange number. Senders can also be the accounts of friends whose account has already been taken over. The code dispatch was initiated by the fraudsters. Users then actually receive an SMS from WhatsApp containing the verification code and a link to verify their own phone.

WhatsApp advises that you do not pass this code on under any circumstances. Because fraudsters can take over the WhatsApp account from the combination of mobile phone number and code and the victims are locked out of WhatsApp. But the fraudsters are betting that the user first reads the second message using the code that was supposedly accidentally sent and then forwards the six-digit number without really worrying about it.

Register your own account again

As WhatsApp writes in an FAQ, it does happen that users accidentally enter a different mobile phone number than their own. The code is therefore intended to protect against strangers accidentally or intentionally taking over your own WhatsApp account.

Anyone who has been locked out of their account should log in to WhatsApp again with their phone number. Once again, users receive a code that they have to enter. Then the foreign user is automatically logged out of WhatsApp. If the user has activated the two-step verification in the meantime, users will now be asked to enter another code that they do not know.

According to WhatsApp, however, it is sufficient to wait seven days. You can then log in without the second code. If the account was taken over by a stranger, you should inform your contacts about it in any case, for example by SMS. You should also report the theft of the account to the police. This can become important if there is attempted fraud via the stolen WhatsApp account.