Another WhatsApp scam hits South Africa

Another WhatsApp scam hits South Africa

There is a rule in the scammer’s handbook that reads something along these lines (paraphrasing): you stand a better chance of scamming if you go after what is most popular.

And what not many apps are more popular than WhatsApp which makes it a perfect vector to get to scam people.

So the latest scam that is happening in South Africa is you get the following SMS:

Another WhatsApp scam hits South Africa

Most will disregard it (right thing to do!), however some will click on the link which takes you to this web page:

Another WhatsApp scam hits South Africa

The unsuspecting ones will click on Continue without reading the fine print that is purposefully written in a greyish-white font on a black background which makes it semi-hard to read on a mobile phone.

This fine print says that you are actually signing up to Social Network and PAYING R7 per DAY !

Another WhatsApp scam hits South Africa

If you are one of those people who doesn’t check their monthly bills, it could be months before you notice the additional R210 charges (R7 x 30 days). Even when you do, you will have a hard time getting your money back as technically you signed up for this service when you clicked on Continue. the service isn’t illegal either as they met the legal requirement of displaying exactly what the charges are.

If they send millions of these messages and only a fraction clicks and unwittingly signs up, they make pretty good money…

How to Update WhatsApp ?

WhatsApp, and in fact any other app, should only be updated from the official App store. Developers of apps hate managing different versions of their app and the official application store makes it simple to have one point which notifies all their users of the new version. Developers may offer access to early “beta” version of their software direct from their site but that is applicable to a niche audience and legitimate app developers would never invoke a system such as an SMS to ask their users to update their apps.

Golden rule: Never update apps from links. Always use the official store.


p.s please inform everyone about this, especially the “older” people who panic when their WhatsApp is at risk…I would hate to see granny or moms and dads being scammed like this.


    1. this one is rather nasty as anyone can fall for it. Obviously if you sit and read everything then you will not, however the scammers are counting on the fact that you will tap and click when you are not focused and in the middle of other things.

  1. Vodacom: sms stop all to 3033 – if you are an older person and a victim of this scam If you are a younger person you would not have fallen for it

    1. I’d like to use this “Stop all” for my dad, but the sms doesn’t seem to go through Johan. Is it the correct number?

  2. It sickens me that our service providers partake in this scam. They clearly give out our information and get paid a kick back from funds received. My contact is with the service provider not with any other third party but I’m sure somewhere in the fine print we have agreed to this taking place.

  3. Francois is that kind of person that would cry the hardest if such a thing happened to his older, not totally informed, family members.. ..Always trying to provoke people hey.

  4. Seeing you are so clever – how about Zelda’s call for help and giving her the correct number to sms for Vodacom – appreciated – “seeing I am old – I may be needing it too, thank you “

  5. So this whole thing is about a sms scam – and yet everyone – blindly take a sms number from an online blog to sms to – Something seams amiss here –

    Step 1: do not reply to any SMS/Email/Smoke signal etc unless the callers details can be verified –
    Step 2: refer to step 1

    If you have been caught, sorry – phone your service provider and cancel the contract

  6. Correct Vodacom Stop All is: SMS STOP ALL to 30333 (5-digit short code)
    MTN – call/dial *141*5# and follow menu prompts
    CellC – *133*1#

  7. Thank very much for saving us from these scamers. Mxm I agree they need to be found and pay but again they we are the one signing up by being ignorant sometimes.

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