A new WhatsApp scam is making the rounds. With just a single call, users can lose their account. You should keep your hands off these sequences of digits.
Anyone who receives messages from the Whatsapp messenger service that asks them to call a special number should be careful. As Computer Bild warns, there is a new scam behind it that first appeared in India.
The specialist magazine warns that the fraudulent phone numbers can be recognized by a sequence of digits that are given with an asterisk. For Germany, the combination is **21*, in previous cases - especially in India - the phone number was prefixed with **67* or *405*.
The characters, which initially appear harmless, are actually a so-called GSM code, which is used as a control command for smartphones. This allows fraudsters to set up call diversions and call blocks - and ultimately redirect all calls to the fraudsters' devices.
What happens after a call to this number? According to Computer Bild, criminals take over their victims' Whatsapp accounts and deposit their own smartphone as a new device. Since a new Whatsapp device can usually be confirmed by a control call, verification by means of call forwarding is not a problem. The specialist magazine warns that fraudsters can legitimate themselves as users of the account and possibly also change the phone numbers and thus gain full control over the account.
This means: It will be difficult to get your own account back because fraudsters can now log in. The specialist magazine warns that scammers use the situation and send messages to their own contacts on behalf of the victims or spread the manipulated phone number further in order to take over other accounts.
Just recently, consumer advocates warned of another scam: When receiving a voice message, mobile phone owners are usually asked to call their voice mail. However, according to the consumer protection portal "Watchlist Internet", SMS messages are currently being sent that prompt users to click on a link with a message that they have just received a voice message. Anyone who follows the link will be informed that an app has to be downloaded because of the message format. Mobile phone users are not allowed to do this under any circumstances, as it is malware.
If only the link was clicked, nothing happened, according to the consumer protection portal. However, once you have installed the app, you should act quickly:
In order not to let it get that far, you should be suspicious of: