Beware the WhatsApp scam
Therefore, the new WhatsApp scam has the potential to do some serious damage to people's wallets due to the popularity of WhatsApp.
The scam works much in the same way as other mobile scams: by having people click on a link to either retrieve, or update information.
With the WhatsApp scam an SMS is sent from a Wireless Access Service Provider (Wasp) informing users that their WhatsApp needs to be updated. In order to do that, the SMS says they need to follow a certain link.
Even though many might disregard the SMS, those who do click through are brought to a website, with a screen that asks them to click in order to continue.
Many who have gotten to this screen won't notice, and thus won't read the fine print at the bottom of the 'continue' button.
According to Segev, the fine print reads: "Subscription R7 per day."
This means that after a month (30 days) people would end up paying R210. If this is left unchecked for a year you could at the very least pay R2,520.
Is this allowed?
According to Richard Boorman, executive head of communications at Vodacom, they do allow a third party service provider, such as WhatsApp, to charge their customer's bill if the customer and provider follow their double opt-in process.
"This would involve clicking on a link or sending an SMS to request a service, and then again confirming that you are subscribing to the service either by clicking on a confirmation link or by sending a confirmation SMS. We enforce that the confirmation SMS must show what a customer is signing up for and what it costs," said Boorman.
Boorman highlighted that it seems like that is what is happening in the case of the WhatsApp SMS scam.
"But that the company involved [with the scam] was using deceptive graphics to distract the customer and draw their attention away from the text highlighting the costs," said Boorman.
Boorman said that Vodacom is putting measures in place to make sure that Wasps are blocked from their network.
"Our service provider team is currently looking into this – it may be that we have already blocked it. We will take action against any service provider who attempts to circumvent the rules we put in place to make it clear what a customer is signing up for as well as what the costs of the service are. That action would include revoking the supplier's access to our network and customers," said Boorman.
Ending the scam
Segev highlights that it will be difficult to get yourmoney back as technically you've signed up for the service.
The service isn't illegal as the scam company did display (even if obscurely) what the terms and conditions of the service are.
In order to cancel the subscription Segev said that people need to call their service providers as soon as possible. Before you do though, check your latest cell phone call statement to find out if you've got any unsolicited charges being billed to your phone. Highlight these and then speak to your provider about the line items.
When it comes to apps like WhatsApp, users will never be SMSed to update the app, or their information. WhatsApp can only be updated via the Google Play apps market for Android or the Apple App Store.
"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," said Segev.
Featured What to do when you’ve been denied a home loan
After months of scanning property sites and attending showhouse after showhouse, you’ve finally found what you’ve been looking for. But your dream of owning a home comes crumbling down when you receive the news that you’ve been denied a home loan. So, what now?
Can your retirement annuity be used as collateral for a loan?
If you have a retirement annuity, you may have wondered whether you can use this as collateral when you take out a loan. We decided to do the leg work and find out whether this is possible or not.
Best travel cards offered by top South African banks
Planning a trip abroad involves a lot of administration. You need to consider travelling arrangements, reasonable accommodation, and a daily itinerary. But have you considered how you’re going to pay your bills once you arrive? Besides considering bank costs, you also need to consider exchange rates.
Best ways to save your money short-term
For many, it seems close to impossible to save when spending on holiday getaways, Christmas gifts, while also trying to ensure there’s money left to survive January. Justmoney takes a look at the best ways you can save during the short term.
Marble Gift Card Special
Price: From R1000
When: Until 25 December 2019
Trennerys Hotel and Camping Januworry Special
When: From 10 to 31 January 2020
Where: Centane (Eastern Cape)
Bakwena Standard Packages Special
Price: From R999
When: Until 31 December 2019