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Protect Yourself from Scams: WhatsApp Urges Users to Make Profile Pictures Private

WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Meta, is urging its 2 billion monthly users to make their profile pictures private in order to protect themselves against online scams. Leaving profile pictures public can provide hackers with information about the user’s identity, including their gender, which can make them more vulnerable to attacks such as the “Hi mum” scam and the “six-digit code” threat. Changing the setting to “My contacts” ensures that only people the user knows will be able to see their profile picture, reducing the risk of scams.

The “Hi mum” scam involves a hacker posing as a family member and asking for money to be transferred due to a lost or stolen phone or wallet. According to Action Fraud, more than 1,200 people in the UK handed over a total of £1.5 million to cyber thieves using this attack in 2022 alone. The “six-digit code” threat involves a message asking for a code to be sent to a new number in order to regain access to a lost phone, but the code is actually used to gain access to the user’s WhatsApp account. Once the hacker has access, they can scam more people and attempt to steal money.

WhatsApp has also issued other advice to help users avoid having their accounts hacked, including enabling two-step verification, checking privacy settings, and ensuring that six-digit pins are secure. Users are also advised to take a moment to think before responding to requests for money or codes, as scammers often rely on people’s trust and willingness to help. By following these tips and making their profile pictures private, WhatsApp users can help protect themselves against online scams.

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