LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Messaging apps are cheap ways to keep in contact with friends and family, but now con-artists are using them to scam you.
News 10 investigates just how scammers are stealing your hard-earned money with the apps. You may have heard of WhatsApp, a free app that you can download on your phone where you can message family and friends, but now, scammers are taking advantage of that and the main thing they want is your money.
For years, scammers have been contacting people via telephone, email and, more recently, text message and Facebook messenger.
Now, scammers are turning to a new platform: WhatsApp.
Here’s how they conduct the scam: You will receive a message from a stranger. They want to access your personal information or convince you to send them money.
Laurian Clause, Consumer and Business Relations Specialist with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “The common one is a romance scam kind of scenario whereby they will pretend they’re interested in you romantically and start gaining access to the relationship building and then later request money out of the blue when you get comfortable with them.”
Another way scammers may reel you in through WhatsApp is by offering you a job. Here’s the catch: to be hired, you must first send your personal information in an application or pay a fee for equipment you’ll need.
“Either scenario the results are the same in that the scammer will block your number and disappear,” added Clause.
Scammers ask you to wire them money or use a prepaid debit card. That way, it’s untraceable and you can’t get your money back.
“The prepaid debit cards they get the number from the back, and the money is loaded on it,” explained Clause. “They gain access and they disappear.”
Experts say if you don’t recognize the number messaging you, call the number directly. That way you have more control over the conversation.
Here are tips to help you avoid WhatsApp scams:
- Don’t open messages from strangers. Only read and reply to messages from people you know and trust.
- Block unknown senders and report their messages as spam.
- Do your research before engaging with a company. Legitimate companies should have good consumer reviews, real customer service contact information, and clear terms of service.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.