Emails Containing Malware Target WhatsApp Users

Your BBB® has learned that users of the messaging platform WhatsApp may be the target of a phishing scheme. According to the website Gizmodo.com.au, an email is being sent to consumers that appears to be from WhatsApp. The emails have reported subject lines of “new voice message,” “a brief audio message has been delivered,” or “an audio memo was missed.”

Once the attachment to the email is opened, malware will be installed on your phone, and thus your phone will then be infected. Depending on the type of malware, the information contained on your phone may be sent or shared with an outside party exposing you to potential identity theft.

The website for WhatsApp has a Frequently Asked Question page which addresses the receipt of a strange message. WhatsApp advises consumers that they “do not use WhatsApp to send messages to you.” WhatsApp also says: “We also do not send you emails about chats, Voice Messages, payment, changes, photos or videos. You will only receive an email from WhatsApp if you initiate a conversation with us via our dedicated email channels, such as one of our support channels.”

To avoid this and other forms of phishing emails, your BBB has the following tips.

1.Make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware software is up to date even on your phone. You may not think about it much, but smartphones are tiny computers that need the protection of that kind of software too.

2.Review all emails you receive carefully. Look for misspellings or general grammatical errors. These are typical red flags of spam emails.

3.Look to see who the email came from. Some schemers may spoof the actual email of the company; however, others don’t. They might use names that are similar to the company’s actual email, but there is usually an additional punctuation mark or something else that will indicate that it is not coming from where it is claiming to be coming from.

4.Don’t open attachments. Unless you are absolutely certain that you know who the email came from, don’t open any attachments you receive. These attachments usually contain malware or viruses that can infect your computer and possibly your computer system.

5.Do a search on the internet for the contents or subject line of the email with the word “scam.” This will often give you a good idea of whether or not anyone is reporting this same email online.

6.If you’ve reviewed the email and still aren’t sure about its contents, contact the company or person directly to see if they did indeed send you an email with an attachment.

Finally, if you discover what you’ve received is a phishing email, report it. You can forward the email to spam@uce.gov and to reportphishing@antiphishing.org. If you were a victim of phishing, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint. You may also wish to check out their information on identity theft too.

For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville.

About Amanda 202 Articles
Amanda is the Director of Investigations & Information Services and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.

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