WhatsApp users have recently been hit by a new wave of scams asking them to pay to continue using the app.
It reads: “Our records indicate that your WhatsApp trial service is exceeding the one-year period. At the completion of your trial period your WhatsApp will no longer be able to send or receive message [sic]. To continue using WhatsApp without interuption [sic], we need you to subscribe for any of our subscription periods.”
Although the message looks official, it is in reality a cyber scam to steal people's bank details, reports the Daily Express. Although the popular messaging app used to require an initial subscription fee, the fee requirement was dropped after Facebook purchased the app for £11.4 billion in 2016, said Action Fraud, a UK-based national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre. They also advised to look out for these signs if you suspect a hoax:
• The sender claims to be affiliated with WhatsApp.
• The message content includes instructions to forward the message.
• The message claims you can avoid punishment, like account suspension, if you forward the message.
• The message content includes a reward or gift from WhatsApp or another person
In a blog post, WhatsApp confirmed the service will remain free saying: "We're happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees. For many years, we've asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we've grown, we've found that this approach hasn't worked well. WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service."