In today’s world, online security is practically taken for granted.
Even though one of the most popular communication platforms, WhatsApp, has become a tramping ground for cybercriminals and fraudsters.
This isn’t surprising, owing to the massive number of WhatsApp users, which stood at more than 2 billion worldwide as of 2020.
It adds to the fact that most WhatsApp users are vulnerable to data breach risks when they’re online. Also, users are becoming more and more vulnerable over time.
That’s because online scammers are using various tactics that are more ingenious and more effective than ever.
This is the reason why WhatsApp scammers are on the rise, causing each victim thousands of dollars in losses on average.
In fact, this year alone, the total number of WhatsApp scam reports increased sharply; however, only a few of them were caught.
Having said that, it’s essential to know what WhatsApp scams are and how you can prevent them.
How do WhatsApp Scams Work? and What are Their Types
WhatsApp scams are one of the most common forms of scams in which cybercriminals and fraudsters pretend to be an acquaintance of a user and ask them for money or something else.
Various types of WhatsApp scams are circulating, and it’s expected to grow further as the scams become more and more sophisticated.
These are a few common types of WhatsApp Scammers:
1. Impersonation Scams
In this type of WhatsApp scam, the scammer pretends to be a family member, friend, or acquaintance.
Typically, they impersonate a user’s know person and contact them from an unknown number (even though the display picture may appear familiar).
The scammer messages the user on WhatsApp and immediately asks for money as a matter of urgency. It’s one of the most common scams, as most users easily fall for it.
2. WhatsApp Hijacking
In this kind of scam, hackers take control of a user’s WhatsApp profile and exploit it for illegal activities.
The initial step in hacking WhatsApp is to obtain the user’s mobile number.
They install WhatsApp on their own phone, get in touch with the victim while posing as friends, and get their account verification number.
To obtain the security code and enter the user’s account, they also keep contacting the user and claiming the code was delivered by mistake.
3. Verification Trick
The users are lured in by sending them two messages in short succession to begin this verification trick scam.
One of the messages is an apology from a supposed friend or relative who unintentionally sent a verification number to the victim’s account rather than their own.
They’ll continue by requesting the victim’s 6-digit number.
Only those who are opening new accounts or trying to get into their accounts on unfamiliar devices will get a verification number from WhatsApp.
In this instance, a victim’s account is being attempted to be logged into by the scammer, who requires the verification code to finish their fraud.
So, if you get a verification code out of the blue, now you know it’s a scam.
4. External Links
Outbound links are a simple method used by con artists to disseminate a URL that takes people to a site where they must complete a survey in order to receive a free item.
Users are asked to complete the survey by scammers who send them the link via WhatsApp.
In a similar manner, consumers divulge their personal information, including addresses, bank details, names, and email addresses.
Once they provide this info, the fraudster either sells it to third parties or uses it to steal identities.
5. Compromised Apps
There are currently no alternative WhatsApp versions available for iOS or Android, although there have been some documented incidents of spyware being buried in previously downloaded apps.
Messages containing links to the download page are sent to other users of WhatsApp once a user has downloaded the malicious program, which helps the infection spread.
How to Prevent WhatsApp Scams
As with most online scams, information is the real power. In fact, you’re already off to a good start if you know the common scams that happen on WhatsApp.
Once you know the warning indications of fraud, it’ll be much more difficult to trick you.
Here are some strategies you may use to prevent falling for a WhatsApp scam:
- Don’t click on links: For instance, you shouldn’t ever click a link in a WhatsApp message that purports to be from PayPal.
Instead, hold down the link it includes while you look up the URL to make sure it points toward the PayPal official site.
- Never respond to unknown numbers: WhatsApp messages asking for money from unidentified numbers are typically malicious.
We encourage you to verify with your family or friends using a separate contact method before acting.
- Make a call: Whether no one answers when you call a contact whose number you don’t know, send a text to your friend’s old number asking if they’ve messaged you on WhatsApp using a new number.
- Question the sender: Ask the sender a private question that only they’d know to find out if they were the actual person in case you’ve any doubts about their legitimacy.
Be careful that con artists can do an extensive investigation. Therefore, asking for their middle name might not work.
- Ignore WhatsApp messages asking for money: This advice applies to scammers in general, not simply WhatsApp scammers. Trust your gut and consider the texts’ usage of language.
Is the individual requesting money speaking otherwise than usual? If the request for money is genuine, they will likely contact you via more than just WhatsApp.
- Set up 2FA (two-factor authentication): You may make it more difficult for scammers and hackers to steal your WhatsApp personality by utilizing the two-factor authentication security feature of WhatsApp.
- Use a VPN: A VPN is a security tool that provides an extra layer of security and privacy to your online activities.
It stopped third parties like hackers from seeing your personal data. You can switch on a VPN that accesses WhatsApp to protect your WhatsApp traffic.
However, finding a good VPN is pretty hard, so to make your task a bit easy, we have made a list of the three best VPNs for WhatsApp that you can use in 2023.
These are as follows:
Since one of the primary purposes of a VPN is to ensure that users are secured online and protected from all types of scams, security and privacy are the top priorities of all VPN service providers.
And luckily, NordVPN is one of the very few providers that won’t disappoint you, especially in this respect.
NordVPN uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to safeguard your data online. This AES encryption further employs asymmetric key encryption.
In simple words, the same powerful key is used for both decryptions as well as encryption. So, it’s good to see that the provider is very serious about its users’ security.
- NordVPN is the industry leader (by a long way)
- 30-day risk-free trial
- Superfast speeds
- 5,442+ servers in 60+ countries
- Strict no-logs policy
- Next-generation military-grade encryption
- DoubleVPN, double privacy
- 6 simultaneous device connections
- Great for: Safety, security, anonymity & peace of mind
- Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, iPad & iOS, Linux, routers, Apple TV, FireFox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and more
Moreover, AES 256-bit encryption is way more secure than 128-bit encryption, which has never been cracked.
With that being said, NordVPN holds itself to the highest standard around.
The military-grade encryption is coupled with a 2048-bit DH key, SHA2-382 authentication, and PFS.
The Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) offers you a unique key every time you log in. So, all your user activities get refreshed each time you log on, and all the information from the previous sessions is completely erased.
If, for any reason, your session is compromised (which we’re sure will never happen), there will be no data for the hackers to be used.
Additionally, NordVPN has two types of encryption protocols that you can choose from to ensure your online security: OpenVPN UDP/TCP and IKEv2/IPSec.
OpenVPN UDP is the default protocol of most NordVPN apps since it’s the most secure one and offers faster speeds than OpenVPN TCP.
Regarding iOS and Mac devices, NordVPN uses IKEv2/IPSec as its default protocol; however, you can switch to OpenVPN anytime you want by heading over to the settings.
On the other hand, Windows and Android users can only use OpenVPN, which isn’t necessarily a drawback since OpenVPN is the best protocol of all.
Like any good and reliable VPN provider, NordVPN offers a kill switch feature to its users.
In case you don’t know, a kill switch is an incredible feature that ensures that all internet traffic on your device get blocked whenever your VPN connection fails, preventing all sort of DNS or IP address leaks.
Although NordVPN offers this kill switch feature for almost all operating systems (such as Windows, iOS, Android, and Mac), there is various difference in how it functions depending on the device.
For instance, the kill switch feature is enabled by default on iOS; however, you’ve to manually enable it on Windows, Mac, and Android devices.
Surfsharkis one of the top-rated VPN providers that truly prioritizes its users’ online security.
It is evident from the fact that the provider offers high-end features such as a kill switch, IP address and DNS leak protection, and, lastly, military-grade encryption.
It has all the features a good VPN should have to guard against WhatsApp scammers.
If in case your VPN connection drops (which won’t happen, of course), the kill switch feature of Surfshark will automatically disconnect your online traffic.
This prevents your traffic or data from getting leaked. You need to enable the kill switch feature from the Surfshark settings if it isn’t already permitted.
- Surfshark is the best budget VPN
- 30-day risk-free trial
- Strict no-logs policy
- 3200+ servers in 95 countries
- Unlimited simultaneous device connections
- Great for: private browsing on a budget
- Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone & iOS, Linux, FireFox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and more
Moreover, Surfshark VPN utilizes the gold-standard AES 256-bit encryption, which is the highest level of encryption available in the market.
This ensures that all your online activities and data are hidden from your ISPs and other third parties.
It’s so powerful that even military and other government officials use AES 256-bit encryption to protect their data.
Furthermore, Surfshark offers a vast range of protocol options to satisfy the needs of different types of users: Shadowsocks, OpenVPN, L2TP, IKEv2, and Wireguard protocols.
Shadowsocks protocol is open-source, which is helpful in bypassing internet censorship in strict places such as China.
Moreover, OpenVPN is another open-source tunneling security protocol that offers both OpenVPN TCP and UDP protocols.
While TCP is more of a stable protocol, UDP is suitable for online gaming or streaming. However, IKEv2 is one of the most popular protocols and is used by almost all VPN providers.
Wireguard is an open-source, new, ultra-fast, and secured VPN protocol.
However, you’ll need to have the latest version of Surfshark on your device to use Wireguard.
So, you can use it if you want. Moreover, the provider comes with a double VPN mode which is known as MultiHop.
The MultiHop of Surfshark offers you an extra layer of security and privacy by connecting to two VPN servers rather than one.
And the best thing is that most of the time, these two VPN servers are located in two countries. However, it might slow your connection, so users use it sparingly.
Another fantastic feature Surfshark offers is Surfshark Alert, formerly called “Hacklock.” It’s a tool that detects if your personal information has been hacked online.
Moreover, the Camouflage mode is helpful if you want to bypass a firewall or you’re living in a country that doesn’t allow VPN usage, such as Russia or China.
3. Atlas VPN
Last one on our list: Atlas VPN is the finest freemium VPN provider available on the market in 2022.
While the free version comes with a solid no-logs policy, robust security features, and zero ads, the premium one isn’t costly, which makes Atlas VPN an excellent budget-friendly VPN provider.
Moreover, the company is headquartered in the United States and uses the best-in-class WireGuard tunneling protocol.
It currently has more than 750 VPN servers located in 37 different countries for you to choose from.
All these servers of Atlas VPN support torrenting and can help you to unblock streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Prime Videos, etc.
- Atlas VPN is the best free VPN
- Privacy Pro servers
- 750 servers in 40+ locations
- Unlimited simultaneous device connections
- Great for: people seeking a freemium VPN
- Compatible with: Windows, MacOS, Android, iPhone & iOS, Android TV, Fire TV Stick
Atlas VPN is again a good choice if you’re someone who cares about online security and privacy.
That’s because it offers a reliable kill switch, military-grade encryption, and leak protection.
Moreover, the provider has a zero-log policy which negates the possible impact of its United States jurisdiction.
On top of that, Atlas VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption which is also used by military personnel as well as financial institutions.
It uses ChaCha20-Poly1305, providing better performance on Atlas VPN’s mobile apps.
These ciphers are unbreakable, and it makes the users feel safe and secure while using the provider.
Speaking of encryption protocols, Atlas VPN provides the WireGuard protocol on all VPN apps, which is fast as well as secure.
Moreover, you can even choose IKEv2/IPSec if you want; however, it could be smoother.
Although a few users miss the OpenVPN protocol, it doesn’t support this protocol on any of its apps.
Additionally, the provider offers a kill switch feature on all VPN apps; fortunately, it’s available on the free version.
Even Android users can enable the “Always-on VPN” feature.
You can use the kill switch to stop your internet connection if your VPN network drops, which ensures that all your personal data are safe.
Although the kill switch feature is disabled by default, we recommend turning it on all the time as it ensures double security.
Another essential feature that Atlas VPN offers is the Tracker Blocker.
It blocks all the malicious domains that are used for malware distribution and cyber-attacks. The blocker even stops ads and cookies.
Atlas VPN supports Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire Stick, Linux, Android TV, and Fire TV.
Moreover, it’s also planning to develop a browser extension for Google Chrome.
However, Atlas VPN doesn’t support routers.
Also, its apps are easy to use. It even offers SafeSwap servers, which keep on changing your IP address.
Is WhatsApp Safe?
Because of its end-to-end encryption technology, WhatsApp is a reasonably secure messaging service.
Thanks to this security feature, hackers can’t read your communications.
Scammers, however, might still attempt to get in touch with you and fool you into giving them your personal information.
How Can I Report a WhatsApp Scam?
If you think that you may have fallen victim to a WhatsApp scam, you can report it by using these steps:
iOS: Open your WhatsApp and click on Settings>Help>Contact Us to report a WhatsApp scam.
Android: Open the app, click on “More Options,” and go to Settings>Help>Contact Us. That way, you can submit a scam report.
Why do Scammers use WhatsApp?
Scammers use WhatsApp for a variety of reasons.
One such reason might be that there are more than 2 billion active WhatsApp users.
However, many scammers also employ iMessage or, for example, use Gmail to distribute fraudulent emails.
They use all messaging software that enables them to communicate directly with customers.
In Summary, the best VPNs in 2023 are;
|Rating||VPN Service||Get Offer|
|#1 Top Rated#1||NordVPN - #1 VPN in the industry||FREE Trial|
|#2 Top Rated#2||Surfshark - top budget VPN||Start Now|
|#3 Top Rated#3||Atlas VPN - best free VPN||Start Now|
As technology is getting more advanced, scams are also more likely to occur. Your family’s and your safety should come first.
Therefore, you should use proxies or a VPN to protect your loved ones from WhatsApp scams.
In this post, we have mentioned the three best VPNs; however, NordVPN is our personal favorite.