LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Scammers are using a relatively new communication app to target victims. According to the Better Business Bureau, scammers are using the WhatsApp to prey on unsuspecting people.
The WhatsApp is a free messaging app many people use to contact friends and family. It’s especially helpful since it has free internet-based international calling.
“It just provides another method of communication for the scam artist to send out the same lures that they have always cast out to the general public hoping somebody’s going to fall for it,” BBB Arkansas President & CEO Janet Robb said.
Victims usually get a message from someone they’ve never met. The con artist’s goal is to access your personal information or convince you to send them money, preferably wired funds or prepaid debit cards. Scammers could also use WhatsApp to convince you they’re romantically interested in you and then ask you for money or they could reach out to you about a job offer.
According to the BBB, one consumer reported being contacted on WhatsApp with an investment opportunity. The man was instructed to deposit $300, so he did that. Once he tried to withdraw his investment gains, the scammed blocked him and the company became unreachable, according to BBB.
Here are tips on avoiding a WhatsApp scam:
- Don’t open messages from strangers. Only read and reply to messages from people you know and trust.
- Block unknown senders and report their messages as spam. If you receive an unsolicited message from someone you don’t know asking you to share your personal information or send money, block them. Help others avoid getting scammed by reporting the message as spam.
- Do your research before engaging with a company. Do thorough research about any company you plan to do business with. Legitimate companies should have good consumer reviews, real customer service contact information, and clear terms of service.