You receive an SMS with a WhatsApp code that need to be input. In a space of seconds or minutes you receive a WhatsApp message from someone in your contacts telling you to send them the code that you just received on your phone. You send them the code and your WhatsApp is overridden since the code is to active your same number on another device as the WhatsApp number.
The first victim of this scam is usually someone who probably has their phone stolen by thieves or scammers and they are able to access their WhatsApp. They look through the phone of the victim and mark their targets. They put their marks number on a new WhatsApp they want to establish by overriding the one that the mark already has.
Let’s say you are friends with Mark and Mark is the one whose phone was stolen by you don’t know it yet. In this instance you are Mark’s friend, and your name is Tony. So, you receive an SMS from WhatsApp which is standard protocol when you want to activate WhatsApp. Then instantly, Mark sends you a WhatsApp message asking you to send the code that you received as it is theirs. This is not an app message from Mark in reality but it is from the scammers since Mark’s phone has been stolen.
As Mark is your friend and you have no reason to doubt or reason to much you send them the code, then you lose control of you app and it is now under control of the scammers.
The scammers can then get into your contacts and get information about you that they want so as to engage in identity theft or steal your money. Imagine the contacts in your phone and what they know about you. From your parents to your spouse or partners.
In some instances, they send messages to your contact lists pretending to be you in trouble and wanting money. They give your contact lists a number to send money e.g., via Ecocash. In a short period of time, by just designing a generic message and sending it to all your contact lists they can get a lot of money.
Imagine how much money someone who gets hold of Pokello’s WhatsApp can make by sending this message “Hey, I am short, and I need $10,000 Ecocash right now will give you back when I get home send it to this number XXXXXXXXXXX I want to buy something”.
This scam seems silly, but it is a practice that is being done.
Some scammers request nude content from contacts saved as spouses or partners and then blackmail the senders by threatening to release footage or the content if they don’t pay off.