A warning has been issued to people who receive an invitation to download and join WhatsApp Gold – which claims to be an exclusive, secret upgrade for certain users – as this new scam actually infects your device with malware.
Promising perks such as being able to delete messages you’ve sent by accident, making video calls, and sending more than 100 pictures in one go, it’s understandable that the con download appeals to many people out there, with some users having received a message about this apparent upgrade being available to them.
One version of the message received said: “Hey Finally Secret Whatsapp golden version has been leaked, This version is used only by big celebrities. Now we can use it too. [sic]”
However, WhatsApp Gold is a malicious scam that tricks users into clicking a link to download the update – which does not exist – and instead directs them to a website full of malicious software.
The malware downloaded onto the user’s phone can then be used by hackers to spy on your personal details, putting your private data at risk. The problem mainly affects Android users rather than those with an iPhone, but everyone should still delete the fake message if they receive one.
One of the main reasons this scam is particularly concerning is that WhatsApp has revealed video calls will be possible soon, making it seem more legitimate, as well as the fact that there are approximately one billion users of WhatsApp. Not all of these users will be tech-savvy, and may well click on the link believing they are genuinely getting a service upgrade.
If you have already followed the link, it is recommended to download antivirus software immediately, and to ensure apps are only downloaded from the official app store in the future.