JOHANNESBURG - An SMS campaign which can cost unsuspecting WhatsApp users around R210 per month is doing the rounds in South Africa.
Tech analyst Liron Segev explains this new scam where unsuspecting WhatsApp users advised that their version of the application is outdated, and are encouraged to click on a link for downloading an upgrade.
First the user will receive an SMS reading “You have not updated to the latest WhatsApp add-ons. Click here now [URL]. (Free MSG) 31655 optout dial 0110621424”.
Clicking on the link takes users to a screen, which asks users to “Update your wall 4 WhatsApp”.
However, if they do not take the time to read the fine print before clicking the green “Continue” button they will find themselves contractually bound to paying R7,00 per day, which is billed directly to their mobile phonebills.
The fine print informs people that this is actually a subscription to a social network called Buddiechat.
Segev explains that the problem lies in the fact that the scam is ‘not technically illegal’ as the fine print states there is a daily fee of R7.
He says the trap is that some people may think this is purely a message to update their WhatsApp service.
“The scammers are counting on the fact that you will tap and click when you are not focused and in the middle of other things.”
The moral of the story? Read the fine print.
Watch eNCA's Interview with Tech analyst Liron Segev for more insight into the misleading WhatsApp SMS.
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