RGP warns of WhatsApp scam targeting local users
The Royal Gibraltar Police has warned of a scam using mobile messaging app WhatsApp that has been targeting local users for their personal information.
The aim is to trick victims into handing over a one-time code that is necessary to install
WhatsApp on another device.
Once this code is handed over, the victim’s personal information can be stolen and
money may also be asked for.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Chipolina, said that it was important for people to be
aware of the scam.
“On some occasions, a scammer will already have access to a compromised WhatsApp account and may contact a victim posing as a known friend,” he said.
“The scammer will tell a victim that they are struggling to receive their own six-digit installation code and have sent it to them instead. In other variations of the scam, fraudsters attempt to convince a potential victim that there is/will be a problem with their WhatsApp account and that resetting this by using a one-time activation code will resolve the problem.”
He explained that it was important that people didn’t share their 6-digit pin with anyone.
“This code is meant for you only,” he said.
“If someone asks you to send the code, ignore it. If you do fall victim to this type of scam, uninstall and then reinstall WhatsApp on your device, so you can ask for a fresh activation code. This will reset the app on your phone.”
“If you have previously backed up your data (your WhatsApp settings allow you to set what type of data you back up and how often), then you will often be able to restore most chats/content whilst you are resetting WhatsApp on you device.”
Mr Chipolina advised the public to better protect their accounts, by enabling a two-step verification for WhatsApp, which adds an additional layer of security to the account.
For more information on this feature, visit WhatsApp's FAQ page.
The RGP are advising anyone receiving suspicious messages via SMA or WhatsApp to ignore, delete and block the sender.
“Warn friends and family, especially anyone you feel may be particularly vulnerable to this type of scam. It won’t cost you anything and your warning may help others from becoming a victim of crime,” DCI Chipolina said.
The RGP said if anyone does lose any money as a result of this type of scam, to notify their bank immediately, and then police via: www.police.gi/report-online or via telephone number: 200 72500.