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Please support Public Health Gibraltar advice, avoid attending our public counters. You can contact us through this website or by calling 20072500 (199 for emergencies).

Don’t let scammers steal your WhatsApp account

A scam using the mobile phone app WhatsApp is again targeting local users and those in the neighbouring Campo area.

The aim is to trick victims into handing over a one-time code that is necessary to install WhatsApp on another device.

Once this code is handed over, the victim’s personal information can be stolen and money may also be asked for.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Chipolina, stated that it was important for people to be aware of the scam. He said: “On some occasions, a scammer will already have access to a compromised WhatsApp account and may contact a victim posing as a known friend. The scammer will tell a victim that they are struggling to receive their own six-digit installation code and have sent it to them instead. In other variations of the scam, fraudsters attempt to convince a potential victim that there is/will be a problem with their WhatsApp account and that resetting this by using a one-time activation code will resolve the problem.”

He explained that it was important that people didn’t share their 6-digit pin with anyone.

He continued: “This code is meant for you only. If someone asks you to send the code, ignore it. If you do fall victim to this type of scam, uninstall and then reinstall WhatsApp on your device, so you can ask for a fresh activation code. This will reset the app on your phone. If you have previously backed up your data (your WhatsApp settings allow you to set what type of data you back up and how often), then you will often be able to restore most chats/content whilst you are resetting WhatsApp on you device.”

To better protect your account, ensure you have enabled your two-step verification for WhatsApp, which adds an additional layer of security to your account.

For more information on this feature, visit WhatsApp's FAQ page. The RGP are advising anyone receiving suspicious messages via SMA or WhatsApp to ignore, delete and block the sender.

DCI Chipolina, added: “Warn friends and family, especially anyone you feel may be particularly vulnerable to this type of scam. It won’t cost you anything and your warning may help others from becoming a victim of crime.”

If you do lose any money as a result of this type of scam, notify your bank immediately, and then police via www.police.gi/report-online or via telephone number 200 72500.

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