Users probably feel safe when sending or receiving text, photo and video messages and sharing documents in WhatsApp thanks to the app's end-to-end encryption policy. However, that doesn't mean you are free from getting fooled on the platform when it comes to scams.
You might have received a message in your inbox inviting you to upgrade your account to the exclusive premium version of the popular messaging app called "WhatsApp Gold." However, users should beware: whatever you do, do not open the link in this invitation. WhatsApp Gold is nothing but a scam, and if the link is opened, malware will install on your smartphone that could steal your private information.
Several users have reported receiving the invitation to upgrade to WhatsApp Gold. It's enticing, since it's being advertised as the exclusive version that is used by all the celebrities. It's the fake new features that could really bait a user. These include the ability to video chat, a feature that is reportedly coming to the app soon, as well as being able to send 100 photos at the same time and delete messages after they are sent.
The message then includes a link where the user can download WhatsApp Gold. However, instead of redirecting to a legit website or the App Stores, the link takes the user to a website that is full of malware. The exact type of malware that could be installed on your phone is not known, but it can result in hackers being able to gain access to your log-in info and passwords to spying and recording everything you do on your device.
The scam starts by reading, "Hey. Finally Secret WhatApp golden version has been leaked." That alone should raise some red flags. The best thing to do if you see this message appear is to immediately delete it without opening it at all.
After all, with one billion active users, the hackers behind this scam have the potential to do some serious damage here. Go the safe route instead and wait patiently for new features to be added to the platform by the company itself.
The scam is reported to hit Android devices more than iOS. It's important to make sure you download antivirus software if you have already clicked on the link.
Photo: Sam Azgor | Flickr