WhatsApp customers have despatched an pressing warning following a surge in account blocking scams

The latest WhatsApp warning was issued by police who said they had seen “spikes” in accounts hacked. The scam can easily result in WhatsApp users being blocked from accessing their accounts, with cyber crooks posing as a friend of a contact and asking for an important six-digit security code to be sent. This scam has been around for a while, with Express.co.uk previously reporting on the risks of WhatsApp scams.

To start the scam, cyber crooks only need the phone number of the WhatsApp user they are targeting.

With this important account identifier, scammers can then contact WhatsApp directly by pretending the number is theirs and saying that the account has been compromised.

WhatsApp then sends a six-digit code to the number, whereby scammers then have to trick the person who received the message into sending them the security code.

If a potential victim falls into this trap, it can lead to their WhatsApp account being taken over by cyber crooks who can then attempt to defraud the account’s contacts for more information or money.

READ MORE: Instagram users could soon rely on WhatsApp to unlock features

The fraud alert was issued by a number of UK police forces, including Southwark Police, who tweeted, “We have seen an increase in WhatsApp accounts that have been hacked, share the code with ANYONE no matter who asks or why.”

WhatsApp has an official guide on its website to help users avoid such scams.

Facebook’s own chat app says users should never share verification codes with anyone, including friends or family.

The market-leading chat app said, “You should never share your WhatsApp SMS verification code with anyone, even friends or family. If you are tricked into sharing your code and lose access to your WhatsApp account, see the instructions below to get your account back.

“If you suspect someone else is using your WhatsApp account, you should notify family and friends as they may impersonate you in chats and groups. Please note that WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted and messaging Saved on your device If you access your account on another device, you will not be able to read your previous conversations. “

WhatsApp also offers the following advice to keep users safe from fraud. They said…

• Never share the six-digit registration code that you received via SMS with others

• Turn on two-step verification: tap Settings> Account> Two-Step Verification. Create a PIN. That’s it!

• Protect your data: only allow your contacts to see your profile photo. Tap Settings> Account> Privacy> Profile Photo and choose My Contacts. Be careful of people who ask you for money. Always call your contact to verify their identity before making a money transfer

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