Beware of this old WhatsApp scam that’s haunting users worldwide

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New Delhi | Updated: January 9, 2019 12:50:53 PM

WhatsApp Gold, a fake knockoff of WhatsApp, had been accessible to many users for a long time before it was removed

WhatsApp Gold hoax is once again fooling users

WhatsApp is regularly adding new users worldwide, thanks to the unending deluge of features and updates the company rolls out every alternate day. For some people, it is, however, not enough, which is why they resort to other methods of getting features, such as themes, that are not yet available on the official app versions.

WhatsApp Gold, a fake knockoff of WhatsApp, had been accessible to many users for a long time before it was removed. It has now made a comeback to lure users to fall in the trap through a warning message.

Read | Is WhatsApp ‘Martinelli’ virus message a hoax or real threat to mobile users? What we know so far

Several people have reported on Twitter that they received a forward asking them not to pay attention to a message that is being circulated on the app. The message being referred here is actually a hoax – it’s about WhatsApp Gold and its features that users are being asked to download.

The message says that downloading WhatsApp Gold (or Plus in some cases) will unlock ‘premium’ features that are not specified in the message. People are now reporting the circulation of this hoax on Twitter via numerous messages.

The tweets mention a virus called Martinelli that weasels into the user’s device via the WhatsApp Gold app that many people have seemingly downloaded or are being referred to do the same. The alleged virus (or malware) can hack the user’s device and steal personal information, say multiple messages on Twitter.

The readers are advised to not pay attention to the hoax messages as such and use the official app, downloaded only from verified sources such as Google Play store, App Store, or the APK file hosting websites.

It’s not the first time that the WhatsApp Gold scam is being floated on the app. Last year, many people reported a similar event when they received such messages on WhatsApp Gold, followed by other messages cautioning them about it.

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