A city-based collegian recently fell prey to a scam wherein his WhatsApp account was hacked using the messaging application's verification code. The attempt to hack the youth's account was averted. However, the fact that such scams have gained momentum amidst the pandemic on the pretext of verifying fake accounts from the original cannot be refuted.
One of the recent scams that have come to the fore to dupe people into giving their phone's access is the WhatsApp verification PIN scam, wherein a 'business' account pretends to be the official communication account for WhatsApp's technical team and asks users to share their verification code. The verification code allows the hacker to register your WhatsApp account on another device and gives access to all your chats.
The scamster sends a screenshot of the message and uses a profile picture that claims to be that of the original WhatsApp official account. The message sent by the scamster states that in a bid to tighten the security and toughen up the authentication, the WhatsApp team is personally verifying the accounts and need the six digit code sent through a text message on the registered number.
Scamsters are exploiting the very service developed to protect users from anti-social activities, wherein the scamster could misuse it to gain access and hack, blackmail or extort. A cyber expert claimed that one should always practice caution and give a keen eye to the details. WhatsApp teams do not use the messaging app to communicate with users and post any updates/announcements on their social media channels, including Twitter or the company's official blog.
Even if WhatsApp was to send a message on the application, their account will always be verified, which is distinguished by a green verified indicator beside the account name. "The Facebook-owned company never asks its users to provide any personal data, including the verification code. Any such messages are just a sham to gain account access. Also, WhatsApp clearly advises against sharing the verification code with anyone," the expert said.
What to do if you accidentally share the verification code?
You can get back your stolen account by re-verifying your phone number in case you've accidentally shared the verification code with someone else, as defined in the FAQ post by WhatsApp.