It’s that time again. The scam artists are peddling their wares on Facebook, trying to get unsuspecting users of the social network to add the messaging app WhatsApp to their profiles.
We have the good folks at TheNextWeb to thank for bringing this one to our attention, after one of their writers says he received the request from a Facebook friend of his. Everything seems legit with the ‘authorise app’ screen that you see when you agree to let something like the ‘The Independent’ access your data and post the articles that you read, but when you take a closer look at the URL the request form wants to take you to, alarm bells should start ringing.
Another red flag should be the suspect capitalisation of the app’s name. The actual messaging app is ‘WhatsApp’ (note the capital ‘A’), yet there is a large number of apps called ‘Whatsapp’ (lower case ‘a’) available for people to add on Facebook. And perhaps this is where the whole thing should fall apart. WhatsApp is a mobile messaging company and doesn’t actually have a Facebook app.
What these bogus apps appear to be doing (apart from going viral) is fetching your private Facebook information. For what purpose remains unclear, but it’s definitely something I’d steer clear of. There is an official WhatsApp Facebook page, but if you receive any invitations to install or add an app, you’re best off ignoring them.