Message being distributed via WhatsApp invites you to click a link to download WhatsApp video calling.
The invite message is a scam. It is not an official WhatsApp notification and clicking the link does not download video calling. The link opens a scam website that tries to trick you into first sending the same scam message to your friends and then divulging your personal information via scam survey pages. It may also redirect you to sites that harbour malware disguised as free phone apps. WhatsApp has recently rolled out video calling for Android, iOS and Windows users. However, eligible users can get the new feature via an official app update not by clicking a link in an “invite” message.
This message, which is currently circulating via cross-platform messaging service WhatsApp, invites you to click a link to download WhatsApp’s new video calling feature. The message, which is titled “Activate WhatsApp Videocall”, claims that you can click to get a new “leaked” version of video calling along with “many more features”.
However, you will not get WhatsApp video calling by clicking the link and the message is certainly not an official WhatsApp notification. In fact, the message is a scam designed to trick you into divulging your personal information and downloading malware.
If you click the link, you will first be taken to a fraudulent website that claims that, to get video calling, you must first send out the same “invite” messages to a number of your WhatsApp contacts. After you have spammed all your friends as instructed, you will then be told that you must complete one or more surveys to verify your eligibility to receive video calling.
Clicking the links presented will take you to various websites that promise prizes in exchange for filling in surveys and providing your name, phone numbers, email address and home address. But, legal clauses on the sites will state that, by participating, you are agreeing that your information can be shared with third-party marketing companies. Thus, you will soon begin receiving unwanted and annoying phone calls, text messages, emails, and surface letters promoting a variety of products and services.
Alternatively, you may be tricked into entering your mobile phone number and thus subscribing to a very expensive SMS “club” that will charge you several dollars for every message they send you.
The scammers will earn commissions each time somebody provides their details on one of the dodgy survey sites or subscribes to one of the SMS “clubs”.
You may also be offered the chance to download a variety of “free apps” along with the supposed video calling update. However, these apps will contain malware that can infect your phone if you install them.
Note that, in a much-anticipated move, WhatsApp has recently rolled out video calling for Android, iOS and Windows users. Users with eligible devices can get video calling simply by updating WhatsApp via their phone platform’s official app store. You do not need to click a link to download video calling from a website and you should not trust any message that asks you to do so. The scammers have capitalised on news of the new WhatsApp feature by sending out these fake invites.
Always get any updates for WhatsApp via the official app store for your device. The WhatsApp website includes a download page that directs you to the correct download site for the device you are using.
Last updated: November 22, 2016
First published: November 22, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!