Engadget's Matt Brian tweeted a clever WhatsApp scam that made its way into his Messages.
As you can see, the scammer attempts to create a sense of urgency by convincing the receiver that their phone number will be transferred to another device. Should they call the number included in the message, it's likely the scammer will use various tactics to get the receiver to divulge their information. As Matt Brian notes in his tweet, the number is a premium number, meaning it can be used to charge a fee to your phone bill. When you're faced with a situation like this — one where you fear you're losing your means of communication (text messages, phone calls, etc.) — it's easy to see how you could be convinced to quickly and easily hand over information that you might otherwise keep locked up tight.
When in doubt, search any suspicious numbers online — often others will have posted the phone number along with complaints regarding scams. It's also worth keeping in mind that — other than text-message based two-factor authentication — most apps and services will send you support messages via email. Check the email address and make sure it's coming from the proper domain — if the address ends in something other than the company's website, there's a good chance it's not real. You can follow up with the app or service's support team to be sure.
Have you received any clever phishing scams over Messages? Be sure to share them in the comments so everyone can be aware and keep their information secure!
I think the best thing to do if you get a call, email, or suspicious text is to not respond and look up the institution's 1-800 number and contact them via their public means to ensure you are not being scammed. I got a call from "AT&T" stating that my account was going to be terminated and to press 1 to speak to an agent. Instead I hung up, called AT&T and found out that my account is normal and nothing weird was up.
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