There has been an exponential rise in WhatsApp scam calls for users across the globe, primarily in India, which has the highest number of WhatsApp users in the world (487 million). Over the past week, there have been instances of users receiving calls originating from international numbers, including Kenya (+251), Ethiopia (+251), Malaysia (+60), Indonesia (+62).

In January 2023, India reported a significant increase in calls offering fraudulent job offers on WhatsApp. Dominant target group include housewives, students, and retirees who tend to get lured easily by part-time job offers. The recent reports range from scams through missed calls, text messages and video calls. Such scams not only threaten to breach privacy and personal information of individuals, but also risk reputational damage or security concerns for business organizations. Therefore, those organizations relying heavily on WhatsApp for daily communications should take cognizance of the same and undertake adequate precautionary measures.

Suspected Modus Operandi

  • Usually, scam numbers with foreign country codes give missed calls in order to verify if these target numbers are still active or not. Once confirmed, the target numbers are subjected to various other cyber and banking scams.
  • Or the scammers offer trial tasks as part of part-time or full-time jobs. They also initially pay for the tasks to gain the target’s trust. Later, they subject these targets to honey trapping or extortion.

WhatsApp’s Response

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How to Spot Spam Messages

  • Misspellings or grammatical mistakes.
  • Asking to tap on a link or activate new features through a link.
  • Asking to share personal information, such as credit card or bank account numbers, birth date, passwords.
  • Asking you to forward a message.
  • Claiming that WhatsApp is a paid app. Remember that only WhatsApp Business Premium requires a paid subscription.
  • Appears with “Forwarded many times” headnote (as shown in image below).These messages are often identified as spam.

Safety Measures

  • Enable two-step verification. For details and guidance video, refer to –https://faq.whatsapp.com/1278661612895630/?helpref=tc_about
  • Exchange messages with known contacts and verified users only.
  • Use group controls for managing the accessibility of participants in a WhatsApp Group Chat. Learn how to change group admin settings on Android, iPhone, KaiOS, or Web and Desktop.
  • Verify the information on a message before forwarding.
  • Change privacy settings to ‘My Contacts’ for sensitive data like Profile Picture, Status, Last Seen information or who can add your number to Group Chats.
  • Block numbers and Report contents sent by unwanted users. For details, refer to – https://faq.whatsapp.com/414631957536067/?helpref=tc_about
  • It is advised to have two separate WhatsApp accounts for personal and professional usage. Business profile can be set up from both Google Play Store and the App Store.


Block and Report suspicious numbersEngage with unknown/ suspicious numbers
Share Live Location information with verified users onlyMake every information public for all
Avoid clicking on unverified linksClick on unverified links for availing lucrative offers
Check for biasesBulk forward sensational messages
Enable fingerprint lockGive everyone access to your phone
Avoid sharing personal images, banking details or OTPsShare sensitive information based on trust
Share joining links for new additions to Group ChatsAdd numbers to Group Chats without prior permission

Important Numbers and Source Links

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