WhatsApp warning over scam that allows criminals to lock account and access messages

WhatsApp users are being warned about a scam which could allow hackers access to lock account (Getty Images)
WhatsApp users are being warned about a scam which could allow hackers access to lock account (Getty Images)

WhatsApp users are being warned about a worrying scam which has seen people locked out of their accounts.

Users have been tricked into handing over a six-digit “verification code” which hackers have then used to steal their account and attack their contacts in the same way.

The old scam begins when a hacker gets access to another WhatsApp account which will have you listed as a contact.

The hacker, posing as your friend, will then send you seemingly normal messages.

However, around the same time you will receive a text message or email from WhatsApp with a six-digit code.

This is because the attacker has requested the code from WhatsApp while pretending to be you.

The person posing as your friend will claim they have sent the code to the wrong account and ask you to help by sending it to them.

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Victims will reportedly receive a message, seemingly from their friend, which says something similar to: “Hello, sorry, I sent you a 6-digit code by mistake, can you pass it to me please? It's urgent?”

This six-digit code is only ever generated when you are trying to log in or make changes to an account.

If you do send the code, the attack will be successful and the hacker will gain access to your account.

One WhatsApp user, whose relatives had been targeted by the scam, posted on Twitter: “Three members of my family have lost access to their WhatsApp this morning.

“Hackers send a text message from WA with a verification code, then a WhatsApp text from someone you know saying they desperately need the code. Do not send the code or click the link.”

To protect your account, never give your six-digit code out to anyone else, under any circumstances.

You can also set up two-factor authentication which will require a pin number to log into your WhatsApp account.

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