SAPS warns of WhatsApp 'hijacking' scam doing the rounds

23 June 2022 - 10:26
By Unathi Nkanjeni
Police have warned of a WhatsApp 'hijacking' scam doing the rounds. Stock photo.
Image: 123rf Police have warned of a WhatsApp 'hijacking' scam doing the rounds. Stock photo.

The SA Police Service (Saps) has warned of a WhatsApp scam that could see your account get “hijacked” and personal details being stolen. 

Users receive an SMS from a person claiming they sent a six-digit code by mistake. The person will ask the user to share that code as a matter of urgency.

“Hello, I’m sorry, I sent you a six-digit code by SMS by mistake. Can you transfer it to me. It’s urgent,” reads the text users receive.

A number of users have already fallen foul of this scam which hands over personal and intimate details of an individual to scammers.

Saps urged users to keep their WhatsApp accounts safe and enable two-step verification on their accounts.

“If you received an SMS with a six-digit code you should not share that code with anyone. If you send that code to a scammer they can log into your WhatsApp account.”

This latest scam adds to a growing number of cons the public have been warned to look out for. 

Earlier this year, the SA Revenue Service (Sars) warned taxpayers about a WhatsApp scam targeting their personal information.

This after Sars noted a rise in complaints about fraudsters posing as officials from the revenue service and asking for taxpayers' personal information via the instant messaging app.

It said fraudsters were using a range of deceptive methods to get taxpayers to unwittingly provide them with personal information used to defraud them and Sars.

“The fraudsters may use your personal information in such a way that can result in you having increased tax liabilities to Sars and you can even become the subject of a criminal investigation. You have to be vigilant at all times and protect your personal information from falling into the hands of fraudster,” said Sars

What should I look out for on WhatsApp?

The person making contact with you may claim to be working at Sars — using the name of a person who does work at Sars — and will indicate they are contacting you on behalf of the revenue service.

“WhatsApp and similar messages and SMSes may contain links which you are encouraged to click on. These links may contain Trojans which fraudsters will use to gain access to your device to steal personal information from you.

“These links can be marked as 'Outstanding Debt', 'Final Demand' or anything which will compel you to click on the link and may also contain Trojans to gain illegal access to your device.”