WhatsApp hijacking is when a fraudster uses your mobile number to gain access to your personal data. It’s a relatively straightforward fraud, but the good news it’s also easy to prevent happening.
For an experienced or even an inexperienced cybercriminal, breaking into someone’s WhatsApp account is easier than it sounds. The following scenario may sound unlikely or overly complicated to some, but it happens more often than you think. This is how it is done:
- The fraudster obtains the telephone number of his first victim.
- The cybercriminal (re)installs WhatsApp on his phone or another device.
- The criminal contacts the victim, impersonating an acquaintance of the victim.
- The WhatsApp fraudster lies to the victim, saying that they have accidentally sent their verification code to the victim.
- The cybercriminal tricks the victim into giving them the verification code, which they then type it into their own phone thus gaining access to the victim’s WhatsApp account and all the victim’s contacts.
The lesson here is to avoid sharing your personal mobile number on your social messaging apps and on social media wherever possible.