Whatsapp fans are being warned about a shock scam that tries to trick users of the Facebook-owned chat app.
WhatsApp is the most popular chat app in the world, with over 1.5billion users each and every month.
Stats released last year showed there was 65billion messages sent each and every day on WhatsApp – a staggering figure which has surely risen since then.
But among these streams and streams of messages scammers have been known to send fake WhatsApp messages to trick users. and one of the most infamous WhatsApp scams looks to have made a comeback. Messages have once again been circulating on the chat app about a premium version of WhatsApp known as WhatsApp Gold.
The WhatsApp Gold claims feature in a message that also warns users about an alleged video threat.
The message that is being circulated says a video in WhatsApp called Martinelli will soon be sent around the chat app.
However, this video is allegedly a fake clip that simply downloads malware onto a WhatsApp user’s phone.
Both the claims of a WhatsApp Gold service – and the existence of a Martinelli video – are fake.
WhatsApp previously spoke out about the WhatsApp Gold scam when con artists circulated messages about it but dubbed it WhatsApp Plus.
The chat app said: “WhatsApp Plus is an application that was not developed by WhatsApp, nor is it authorised by WhatsApp.
“The developers of WhatsApp Plus have no relationship to WhatsApp, and we do not support WhatsApp Plus.
“Please be aware that WhatsApp Plus contains source code which WhatsApp cannot guarantee as safe and that your private information is potentially being passed to 3rd parties without your knowledge or authorisation.”
While, in a post online, fact checking website Snopes explained the Martinelli video doesn’t exist.
They said: “A hoax that has been making the online rounds on WhatsApp since at least mid-2017 warns users of the encrypted messaging service that they are supposedly vulnerable to a piece of malicious software being distributed via a video called “Martinelli.”
The malware is said to be capable of hacking into a user’s cell phone in under 10 seconds, wreaking irreparable damage”.
They added: “This warning is a hoax, one that appears to have originated in a Spanish-language version sometime in 2017.
“Spain’s Policía Nacional issued a tweet debunking it back at the end of July 2017”.
While the Martinelli claims are fake, WhatsApp users should stay alert to any suspicious messages that ask them to click on links or download software.
A spokesperson said: “WhatsApp say that they will never send users a message asking them to upgrade or download another app.
“If you receive…[such] emails or text messages, do not click on any links.
“Instead, delete it and report it to Action Fraud.
“If you have already followed a link to download software, install some antivirus software onto your device to remove the malware.