According to a message being distributed via cross-platform messaging service WhatsApp, you can update to a cool blue version of WhatsApp by following a link in the message.
If you do follow the link, you will be taken to a website that asks you to enter your WhatsApp number and click an ‘I agree! Continue’ button to get the ‘trendy blue’ update.
After you enter your number as requested, the site performs an utterly fake scanning process that supposedly validates your WhatsApp number.
When the fake scan completes, a new screen will appear that claims that you must click a ‘User Verification’ button to prove that you are an active WhatsApp user.
Clicking the button loads a ‘User Verification’ window that claims that you must first invite at least 10 active friends or 3 groups and then, as a final step, click a ‘Human Verification’ button.
Clicking the ‘Invite’ button creates a fresh version of the same scam message that you can send to your friends. After you have sent off the specified number of invites, you may then click the ‘Human Verification’ button.
But, another message will then appear that claims that you must complete one of several available ‘offers’ before receiving your WhatsApp Blue activation code.
The offer links open dubious third-party websites that promise the chance to win various prizes in exchange for supplying your personal information and filling in surveys.
However, fine print on the pages will state that, by participating, you are agreeing to share your information with other marketers. Thus, you may soon begin receiving unwanted and annoying marketing phone calls, emails, and surface letters. Some of the survey sites may try to trick you into subscribing to very expensive SMS ‘services’ by providing your mobile phone number. These subscriptions will charge you several dollars for every text message they send and can be quite difficult to unsubscribe from.
Meanwhile, the scammers who created the fake WhatsApp update site will receive commissions each time a user supplies their information on one of the survey sites.
And, alas, no matter how many ‘offers’ you complete, you will never get the promised ‘activation’ code or the ‘blue’ update.
Surveys scams like this one are very common on Facebook and are now more frequently targeting WhatsApp users as well.