You know what they say: "There's no such thing as a free lunch."
This is also true in the world of apps. While it's true that many apps come with free versions, most of them also come with in-app purchases, or a paid version that has more features. Or, the free versions are loaded with annoying ads.
That's why this latest scam didn't look that suspicious to victims who fell for it.
We're always being sent prompts to upgrade, buy or click on something that's supposed to make our app run better. So when users of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp received a message about a new premium version, naturally, they wanted it.
The message told users they had been selected as part of an exclusive group to install a "limited edition" version of WhatsApp, called WhatsApp Gold. Some even reported that the message claimed WhatsApp Gold had previously only been available for celebrities. There were also promises of new features, such as video chats.
The only problem was that Whatsapp Gold doesn't exist. Scammers were able to trick people into clicking on a link. This led to a fake website loaded with malicious code. Users ended up with a virus.
If you use WhatsApp and see this message on your phone, the best thing you can do is delete it. The scam has been most effective with Android devices thus far.
You should also protect your phone with a good anti-virus software, just like you do for your computer. In case you missed it, read our article about how ransomware is spreading to phones and tablets, and what you can do about it.
If you don't use WhatsApp, your friends and family might. Use the buttons below to help us spread the word and warn them.