Change key settings to keep WhatsApp safe from new SIM swap scam, warn insiders

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With more than 2 billion users around the world, WhatsApp is one of the most important methods of communication today.

But WhatsApp scams are on the rise, and what's more, it's becoming increasingly challenging to keep your messages private from prying eyes.

This is only getting worse as fraudsters resort to a new SIM swapping scam, which is where they steal people's phone number and identities and then go on to rip off their friends and family.

Analysts at WABetaInfo explain that criminals could use your phone number to change your email address login and then lock you out of all your apps, including WhatsApp.

This can not only lead to ruinous financial consequences, but destroy trust between you and your loved ones.

They said: "Thanks to some techniques involving SIM swapping, criminals are able to steal your phone number by assigning it to a new SIM card. Yes, it’s not so easy but this can happen if they are able to get your private information.

"When they have your phone number in their hands, they may start using some of your services, including WhatsApp to scam other people."

What's more, the traditional two-step verification most people use to protect their phones might not be enough.

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How to activate two-step verification on WhatsApp

One of the best ways of securing your chat app against prying eyes is to activate two-step verification.

To activate two-step verification, just go to your WhatsApp settings, hit Account, then follow the instructions on the two-step verification page.

However, WABetaInfo has said that the new SIM-swapping scam could get around two-step verification, because if someone has been able to steal your phone number, they could change the password on your email account and lock you out forever.

They recommend using authenticator apps like Google Authenticator, 1Password or Authy. These will let you receive authentication codes to a secure app rather than your text messages, which means they'll be kept out of view of anyone with your phone number.

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