In social media, the emergence of fake news and fake apps isn’t uncommon as thousands of these hoaxes keep circulating around the web to spread confusion among the users. Now, there is a new hoax doing the rounds and making headlines and it is called WhatsApp Gold Scam.
Dubbed as WhatsApp Gold update, this hoax involves sending WhatsApp messages to users regarding downloading an update for WhatsApp. However, in reality, it isn’t an update but malware.
It is noteworthy that WhatsApp Gold scam has been circulating around the social media since 2016 but it has resurfaced now with a lot more intensity. This time around the update message is marred with a malware payload.
WhatsApp has confirmed that it is a new hoax that’s being spread by scammers to trap users by convincing them that by clicking on the link they will be able to receive an updated version of the messaging app.
The message’s content is as follows:
“If you know anyone using WhatsApp you might pass on this. An IT colleague has advised that a video comes out from WhatsApp called ‘martinelli’. Do not open it. It hacks your phone and nothing will fix it. Spread the word”.
Samad Khan, a cybercrime expert and CEO of Gekza, claims that it doesn’t seem like the company itself is sending these messages in video format because WhatsApp never sends videos.
“This is a long-running scam that suggests there is a premium version of the application that will unlock extra features and abilities. But, there is no such thing. WhatsApp is free as of now and this is not expected to change anytime soon,” said Samad.
The scammers have used a variety of tactics to convince users to click on the link such as claiming that the user’s ID has been hacked and their phone number will be changed.
A fact-analyzing service Snopes states that WhatsApp Gold is nothing else but a hoax as there is no such video existing on the web and reportedly, none of the recipients of the message have received the video.
Moreover, WhatsApp updates are usually rolled out by the company automatically via the app. The embedded links in the messages that are being circulated nowadays won’t offer anything new except for the malware payload. Hence, users are urged to ignore the message if received and delete it immediately.