If you use WhatsApp to chat with friends and family, you must follow the latest advice from Meta’s own company. The hugely popular messaging service, which has around 2 billion monthly users around the world, is warning fans to ensure their profile picture remains private. It’s a very easy thing to overlook, but leaving this setting public gives hackers some great clues as to your identity and can make it a lot easier to fall victim to the latest scams.
The infamous “Hello Mom” attack and the worrying “six-digit code” threat are currently circulating the internet, and both are more effective when the hacker knows more about you, including your gender.
The change takes seconds and is definitely worth considering if you are concerned about scams or if you are a victim of the latest online threats.
How to make your profile picture only visible to your contacts.
Beat Ideas > Account > privacy > Profile picture > then switch to my contacts. Once this is done, only the people you know can see the photo – strangers can’t.
Two scams to beware of
The Hello Mom Scam…
Perhaps the most important reason to hide your face is the dreaded friend in need scam. Here the hacker pretends to be a close family member and then asks for a money transfer because their phone and wallet have been lost or stolen.
Action Fraud recently confirmed that more than 1,200 people handed over a total of £1.5million to cyber thieves via this attack in 2022 alone.
Six digit code text
This threat comes with a message stating that a friend has lost their phone and needs a code to be sent to a new number to get things working again.
However, the code is used to gain access to your account and once the hacker activates it, you will be banned from your chats and you will have full access to your contacts. This can then be used to scam more people and try to steal money.
Along with this change to your profile picture in Settings, WhatsApp has released some other top tips to help its billions of users avoid having their accounts hacked.
Here are the latest tips you should know
TO STOP: Take five before answering. Make sure WhatsApp’s two-step verification is enabled to protect your account; that you are happy with your privacy settings and your six-digit PIN is secure.
THINK: Does this request make sense? Are they asking you to share a pin code they sent you? Are they demanding money? Are they forcing you to act? Remember scammers take advantage of people’s kindness, trust, and helpfulness.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT: Make sure it’s really your friend or family member by calling them directly or asking them to share a voice memo. Only when you are 100% sure that the request came from someone you know and trust should you think about it. If it turns out to be untrue, report it to Action Fraud.
“WhatsApp protects your personal messages with end-to-end encryption, but we can all play a role in protecting our accounts by remaining vigilant to the threat posed by scammers,” said a WhatsApp spokesperson.
“If you receive a suspicious message (even if you think you know who it’s from), calling or requesting a voice memo is the quickest and easiest way to verify who someone they claim to be is.” If you receive a message from someone who isn’t in your contacts, we’ll give you the option to block or report them immediately.”
Contribution Source: Express
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