Action Fraud has issued a warning to people in Harrow about a WhatsApp scam that has affected over 60 users.
In a warning posted on the OWL network, they advised that the scam starts when a criminal gains access to another user’s WhatsApp account, where the victim is listed as a contact.
The criminal then poses as a friend or group member and sends messages to the victim to initiate a conversation.
At the same time, the victim receives a text message from WhatsApp with a six-digit code, which the criminal has been trying to use to log in to WhatsApp with the victim’s mobile number.
The criminal then requests that the victim sends them the code, claiming it was sent to them by mistake. If the victim falls for this trick, the criminal gains access to their WhatsApp account and locks them out. The criminal will then target the victim’s contacts with the same scheme to steal more accounts and commit fraud.
Action Fraud advises WhatsApp users to set up two-step verification to provide extra security, to call family and friends to confirm their identity if they receive an unusual request, never to share their account activation code, and to report spam messages or block senders within WhatsApp.
Victims of fraud or cybercrime are urged to report it to Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040.