The media have served as vehicles for scammers from time immemorial. At first it was done by letter, later they were transferred to email and now we have them installed in mobile phones. Sometimes with complicated viruses and other malware that requires multiple knowledge, other times with simpler processes.
With identity theft the order of the day, it is convenient for you to know that there is a new type that circulates through WhatsApp, taking advantage of the fact that it is the messaging app for mobile phones with the most users on the planet. Anyone can write you through WhatsApp asking for a code but you should be suspicious if this happens, because they may be posing as your contact. We tell you the procedure.
The famous 6-digit code to verify your identity
WhatsApp has a security mechanism so that no one can access your account without your permission. This is a six-digit code that send to our phone number every time we install WhatsApp and we log in with our account on a new phone. If we do not enter this code correctly, we cannot activate the use of WhatsApp wherever we are. As simple as that.
Knowing how this system works, we can deduce that someone has tried to log into our account on another phone if we ourselves unexpectedly receive the code. We receive an SMS with the verification code, and that means that an attempt was made to log in with our phone number. A code that, needless to say, we must not give to anyone. But they may try to trick us into giving it.
For us to give you this code, the criminals who operate the scam can impersonate our contact in order to break the first barrier, that of trust. Your mother, a friend, or your boss may write to you, but it’s a stolen account. Probably, this contact of ours has suffered the same scam by another contact of yours and has lost control of your account, this is how the scam continues to spread.
The modus operandi appears to be the same. We receive a conversation that usually always begins in the same way, with a « good morning, can I ask you something? ». The same message may be repeated several times until they get our attention. They will then proceed to tell us they have sent us a six-digit code by mistake and need it. If we give it to you, we will have lost control over our WhatsApp account, and we will know it as soon as we receive a message from the app indicating that:
« Your phone number is no longer registered with WhatsApp on this phone. This may be because you registered it on another phone. If you didn’t, please verify your phone number to log back into your account. »
But we will have already lost it. However, there is a way to recover our WhatsApp account and that is to contact the WhatsApp customer service directly to report the theft of our account. For it we will write an email to email@example.com indicating the phrase « Stolen / lost phone: please deactivate my account ». In this email we will include our complete international telephone number, also adding the national prefix (+34 in the case of Spain). And WhatsApp will proceed to block the account on the new phone, offering us the steps to follow to recover it.
Sergio Carrasco, an expert lawyer in the right to be forgotten and cybersecurity explains why this process is always so similar: « These actions are usually highly automated (they are usually bots that communicate with the WhatsApp API to request recovery, so as not to go number by number manually), which is why sometimes it reaches profiles from which it seems that nothing will be obtained. It would be different if payments could be made directly from WhatsApp, which is currently not the case. «