POLICE are warning Gibraltar and Campo residents of an instant messaging scam that could lead to financial loss.

The Whatsapp scam tries to trick victims into handing over their one-time code used to install the smartphone messaging app on a phone.

With this code attackers will get access to personal information which can then lead to fraud.

Scammers could even demand money for the return of the Whatsapp account.

RGP Detective Chief Inspector Paul Chipolina explained how the scam is carried out and asked phone users of the popular app to bear these tactics in mind.

“On some occasions, a scammer will already have access to a compromised WhatsApp account and may contact a victim posing as a known friend.”

“The scammer will tell a victim that they are struggling to receive their own six-digit installation code and have sent it to them instead.

“In other variations of the scam, fraudsters attempt to convince a potential victim that there is a problem with their WhatsApp account and that resetting this by using a one-time activation code will resolve it.”

Act fast!

The RGP detective advised the public not to share their 6-digit pin with anyone.

“This code is meant for you only,” DCI Chipolina. “If someone asks you to send the code, ignore it.

“If you do fall victim to this type of scam, uninstall and then reinstall WhatsApp on your device, so you can ask for a fresh activation code.

“This will reset the app on your phone. If you have previously backed up your data, then you will often be able to restore most chats whilst you are resetting WhatsApp on you device.”

The RGP advise the use of the two-step verification for WhatsApp, which adds an additional layer of security to the Whatsapp account.

Instead of replying to such a message, the RGP instead advise users to delete and block the sender of the message.

DCI Chipolina added: “Warn friends and family, especially anyone you feel may be particularly vulnerable to this type of scam.

“It won’t cost you anything and your warning may help others from becoming a victim of crime,” he said.

The RGP have asked scam victims to speak to their bank immediately and call the police.

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