By Mihir Patkar
Now, while this isn’t good news, you may have received some alarming messages on WhatsApp about this. And those are spreading lies. Some messages claim that Facebook will make your chats publicly available. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, internet myth-busting championSnopes had to write an article specifically debunking this lie.
The bottom line is that your data is still your own and it won’t be appearing on Facebook without your consent. You can opt out of sharing information on Facebook through WhatsApp’s guide.
Scam: WhatsApp Gold, a Premium Version of WhatsApp
Have you got an invitation to WhatsApp Gold, a premium version of WhatsApp purportedly used by celebrities? If yes, delete that message and don’t do anything it says. It’s a complete scam.
There is no alternate or premium version of WhatsApp. Everyone, including celebrities and the co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, use the same app that you do.
Apart from “WhatsApp Gold”, this same scam also comes with other names like “WhatsApp Plus”, “WhatsApp Pro”, and “WhatsApp Star”. If you get an invitation to download any such version of WhatsApp, delete the message.
Scam: Your WhatsApp Has Expired, Pay to Renew
This is one of the oldest WhatsApp scams but it keeps circulating and claims more unsuspecting users than any other. You’ll get a message from an unknown number that says your WhatsApp has expired and you need to pay to renew it. This is a scam!
WhatsApp is completely free and you should never believe any message asking you to pay for it. For proof, WhatsApp officially stated it’s free and will stay free forever.
Understandably, people wonder how a service like this can be completely free. But that’s WhatsApp’s headache, and it is in the process of monetizing its app through tie-ups with corporations. Right now, what you need to know is that WhatsApp does not, and will not, cost you a penny.
Scam: WhatsApp 4G and WhatsApp “Ultra Light Wi-Fi”
A new message doing the rounds these days starts off with the oldest trick of conmen: it says you’re special. Your phone is among the best, it claims, saying it supports a new “WhatsApp 4G” or “WhatsApp Ultra Light Wi-Fi” which will reduce data costs or make it completely free.
You are told to forward the message to 10 friends, and then visit a link at the bottom of the message. The link directs you to a website where you have to fill a short survey. And then nothing happens. Seems harmless, right? Wrong!
“Even after completing the surveys as requested, you will still not get to activate the promised ‘feature’. At this point, you may be urged to download other ‘free’ apps. But, these apps may contain malware of various types,” explains Hoax Slayer. “The scammers who create these campaigns earn commissions via dodgy affiliate marketing schemes each time somebody fills in a survey or downloads an app.”
How to Stay Safe From WhatsApp Scams
First of all, if you get a message from an unknown number, you should consider it to be fake. If the person identifies themselves as someone you know, double-check in whatever way you can. Otherwise, treat it as malicious. Remember, it’s just WhatsApp, if the person is serious, they can get in touch with you with a phone call or SMS too.
WhatsApp itself has laid out a few signs to watch out for. If you get a message that has any of the following attributes, consider it to be spam or malicious:
- The sender claims to be affiliated with WhatsApp.
- The message content includes instructions to forward the message.
- The message claims you can avoid punishment, like account suspension, if you forward the message.
- The message content includes a reward or gift from WhatsApp or another person.
Which WhatsApp Scam Have You Seen?
Have you got a forward on WhatsApp that talked about any of the above scams? Have you been targetted by some other WhatsApp scam?