In the past week, South Africa has been faced with a number of hijacked WhatsApp accounts. In the latest trend, scammers will port your cellphone number to a different network, and asking for money from your WhatsApp contact list.
Scammers will impersonate their victims and ask for money from their friends, once the porting goes through, and then the scammer will have full control of your number in a new SIM card. You might think the scam is impossible because the criminal won’t have any of your friends’ contacts, so what happens is, once the scammer successfully ports your number, they will only have to wait for an incoming message and defraud them.
The only way to survive the fall once you’ve been hit is to get back control of your number. It may be a drag getting it back, you can email WhatsApp directly to deactivate your WhatsApp account to firstname.lastname@example.org with the phrase in the subject and body of the email: “Lost/Stolen: Please deactivate my account”, in the body of your email, include your cellphone number in the international number format +27XX XXX XXXXM and do not include the first zero.
The Story was also covered by ENCA,
Once you get your number back, sign in to your WhatsApp account and it is advisable to select ‘WhatsApp web’ in your WhatsApp settings and click on “Logout from all devices”, this will stop further damage.
Listen to the discussion on Afternoon Drive with John Maytham:
‘They take over your cellphone number. Setup WhatsApp, impersonate you and ask people for money, they take over your cellphone number. Setup WhatsApp, impersonate you and ask people for money.’ Phillip de Wet, Associate Editor at Business Insider Inc explained.
Here are the reactions on Twitter.
My number was ported to @MTNza without my authorization, I'm trying to call them with no luck ????
— Lebohang Phokela (@LeboPhokela) January 7, 2020
There is a new scam which @Vodacom is doing nothing about where your number gets ported to @MTNza then they hack your whatssap contacts and ask them for R1500. Its happening to me right now don't send anyone money it's not me!
— Macfarlane Moleli???????? (@macmoleli) January 8, 2020
My number got hacked and illegally ported. ???? Had to block and freeze accounts. I don't even know what to do with the million of apps that are connected with my number. Basically, if you get a strange number "approving portal of your number" immediately notify your server. ????
— Lwazi Monyetsane (@LwaziMonyetsane) January 6, 2020
— Nkgono Neria (@neriahlakotsa) January 4, 2020
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