Most of us have been on the receiving end of a scammer in action at one point or another, and it seems that they have a new favourite platform to target.
The latest scam making its rounds on Whatsapp seeks to trick users into thinking there's some kind of family emergency going on.
Not to fret, though, as we've got the lowdown on all the red flags to keep in mind if you ever receive one of these distressing messages.
In short, the con sees scammers hacking into Whatsapp messages posing as a member of your family, friend or just someone from your contacts.
Pretending to be in dire need of money, the fraudster attempts to trick users into sending them over some dosh because 'they urgently have to pay a (high) bill' or 'they have an emergency and urgently need some money'.
The scammers effectively want to cause a sense of stress, hoping that their victims make a hurried money transaction in the chaos of it all.
In most cases, the scammer messages from an unknown phone number but commonly attaches a a familiar display profile picture to lure you in.
While users may not recognise the number messaging them, it seems that seeing a familiar face leads them to believe they are in fact speaking with someone they know rather than a lurking criminal.
But, it's important to remember that photos can be very easy copied and pasted through social media like Instagram and Facebook.
The scammers can also use information sourced from social media platform - like tone of voice and vocabulary - to appear more legit.
But, it's not all doom and gloom as VPN Overview has been able to identify six tell-tale signs that WhatsApp users should be wary of.
The site explains: "We recommend that you read this information carefully to familiarise yourself with the way these cybercriminals work, so that hopefully you do not fall into their traps."
The first red flag is when a 'scammer conveys a sense of urgency and tries to convince you or pressures you to pay quickly' which is reportedly 'almost always' the case.
The second is that the fraudster will send you a WhatsApp message from an 'unknown phone number ' however, this only occurs if the criminal has yet not hijacked someone’s actual WhatsApp account itself.
Coming up in third is when the criminal informs you that their number has changed and 'almost immediately, starts talking about money'.
A fourth alert to keep in mind is that the person's messages are 'written in poor English, as often the fraudster’s mother tongue is not English or they are not well educated', the site claims.
The penultimate tell-tale sign is that the person messaging is adamant they do not want to be called - even though they're supposedly in an 'emergency situation'.
And the final thing to note - while it may come as pretty obvious - is when the person on the other end of the phone asks you to 'transfer money to an unknown account or uses an app that does not show account numbers at all such as PayPal'.
A few ways to avoid falling for WhatsApp fraud include checking if the number is correct, checking the language style of the message, calling the number or setting up 2-Factor Authentication on WhatsApp.
So, there you have it, six steps to avoid getting scammed by these meddlesome fraudsters.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock
Topics: Crime, Technology, WhatsApp, News