After multiple reports of users receiving scam calls on WhatsApp from fake international numbers, the messaging company has released a statement on the action it is taking against such scammers.
"We apply spam detection technology to spot and take action on accounts engaging in abnormal behaviour to stop spam," WhatsApp said in a statement to CNBC TV 18. "We have a grievance officer based in India who can be contacted if a user has a concern about their experience and is unable to report it through other channels. The reports detail user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp, as well as WhatsApp’s own preventive actions to combat abuse on the platform.”
The company also stated that it has launched a marketing campaign "stay safe with WhatsApp" to educate users about its in-built product features and safety tools like Two-Step Verification, Block and Report, and Privacy controls, as safeguards to help protect users from online scams, frauds, and account compromising threats.
Recently, reports of people receiving random WhatsApp calls and messages from supposedly international numbers have flooded Twitter. Most of these calls come from phone numbers that start with +251 (Ethiopia), +60 (Malaysia), +62 (Indonesia), +254(Kenya), and +84 (Vietnam). Although they carry the country codes, the calls can be made from any part of the world as WhatsApp calls are done via the internet and there are agencies that sell international numbers for WhatsApp calls in different cities.
Are you also getting suspicious missed calls on #WhatsApp from international numbers? Beware, it's a fraud! @Cyberdost @WhatsApp @Meta @Apple #WhatsApp #scam #whatsappcallscam pic.twitter.com/I2BsnuGrQK
— Vivek Singh (@Bigdreamer_vk) May 8, 2023
What the af is going on?
Getting these random missed calls on WhatsApp constantly. pic.twitter.com/BTbahSVIup
— meghnad (@Memeghnad) May 8, 2023
Within a week, I've got 5 such messages on WhatsApp:
3 back to back Video calls from an overseas number
"Hello, I have something to tell you, can I take a few minutes of your time?"
"We'll offer you ₹50 for every video you like on YouTube"
All are scams!
— CA Kanan Bahl (@BahlKanan) May 5, 2023
On Tuesday, even Telangana's Cyberbad Police asked WhatsApp users to not respond to such calls. "Many Indian users are receiving international calls on their WhatsApp numbers. We request everyone to remain vigilant and not respond to such calls. Please report and block them immediately, as it is a scam designed to lure people," they tweeted.
Many Indian users are receiving international calls on their WhatsApp numbers. We request everyone to remain vigilant and not respond to such calls. Please report and block them immediately, as it is a scam designed to lure people.#WhatsappScam #StayAlert #CyberabadPolice https://t.co/KqObDh2yKT pic.twitter.com/6eitscOESW
— Cyberabad Police (@cyberabadpolice) May 9, 2023
Last week, billionaire and Zerodha CEO Nithin Kamath also shared how his friend was duped of Rs 5 lakh by scammers on WhatsApp.
One of the ways to avoid falling prey to scammers is to not receive such calls or interact with messages sent from such random international numbers.
To block a number on WhatsApp, open a chat with the contact, then tap More > Block > Block. You can also report the contact by tapping Report contact > Block.
Read more: WhatsApp scam alert: Beware of calls, messages from international numbers