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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

New alert over WhatsApp scam that tries to fool users into paying for a subscription to the free service

  • Fake texts warn recipients that their subscription to WhatsApp has run out
  • Criminals hope to trick people into providing their payment details
  • People who have received the message should delete it and run anti-virus

  • Fresh warnings have been issued over a WhatsApp scam that tricks users into paying a 'subscription' for using the messaging app.
    The scam, which first surfaced last year, charges users 99p to renew their subscription.
    Twitter users have taken to the social network to ask advice about the scam. 
    The message also contains instructions to receive a lifetime subscription for a small fee and are being used by criminals to trick people into providing their payment details.

    Fake text messages (pictured) have been sent out in recent weeks warning recipients that their Whatsapp subscription has run out

    Fake text messages (pictured) have been sent out in recent weeks warning recipients that their Whatsapp subscription has run out

    ActionFraud, the UK's national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, has warned users to to fall for it.
    'Long term users of WhatsApp will remember paying a 0.99p annual fee to use the messaging service,' it said.
    'In 2016, this was scrapped by Facebook who took over running of the company after buying it for £11.4bn.
    That means since 2016, the service has been free for every user.
    'Whilst late adopters of the service might look at the email below and simply brush it off, long term users will remember paying and could quite easily think the app has gone back to its subscription model and get caught out.'
    The emails claim your 'subscription will be ending soon' and are after your banking information. 
    The message reads 'Your subscription has expired. To Verify your account and purchase a lifetime subscription for just 0.99 GBP simply tap on this link'. 
    People who have received the message should delete it immediately, Action Fraud recommends.

    THE WHATSAPP SUBSCRIPTION SCAM 

    Fake text messages have been sent out in recent weeks warning recipients that their Whatsapp subscription has run out. 
    The message also contains instructions to receive a lifetime subscription for a small fee and are being used by criminals to trick people into providing their payment details.
    People who have received the message should delete it immediately.
    If you have clicked on the link it contains, you should also run antivirus software to ensure your device has not been infected with malware. 

    If you have clicked on the link it contains, you should also run antivirus software to ensure your device has not been infected with malware.    

    It is unclear exactly how many users have been targeted or how criminals obtained the phone numbers.

    But concerned Whatsapp users have taken to Twitter to warn others about the scam. 

    Kieran Stevenson‏ said: 'I've just had a text from 'Whatsapp' saying my subscription has expired and I need to click a link to renew it. Scam, right?'

    Kate Davies added: 'Anyone else received a text from #WhatsApp saying you're subscription has expired ..but you can buy life long for £1 ?

    A number of users contacted the firm directly, including Lyn Homer‏ who said: '@WhatsApp I've just had a text message saying that I have to pay 99p for WhatsApp lifetime subscription.. Is this right?'   

    With more than 1 billion monthly users, WhatsApp provides a precious service to people all over the world, keeping them in touch with friends and family.

    Concerned Whatsapp users have taken to Twitter to warn others about the scam, which are being used by criminals to trick people into providing their payment details
    Concerned Whatsapp users have taken to Twitter to warn others about the scam, which are being used by criminals to trick people into providing their payment details
    The messages contain instructions to receive a lifetime subscription for a small fee. The scam first emerged last month, but reports have been on the increase
    The messages contain instructions to receive a lifetime subscription for a small fee. The scam first emerged last month, but reports have been on the increase

    People who have received the message should delete it immediately. If you have clicked on the link it contains, you should also run antivirus software to ensure your device has not been infected with malwarePeople who have received the message should delete it immediately. If you have clicked on the link it contains, you should also run antivirus software to ensure your device has not been infected with malware
    And this is not the first time hoax messages have circulated recently suggesting the free messaging app will soon start charging.
    In January, chain messages were sent round suggesting both Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger were about to introduce a fee.
    On this occasion, the hoax messages did not seem to have any criminal intent. 


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