Recognize WhatsApp spam and prevent it from reaching you

  • WhatsApp spam is becoming a problem, but there are ways to recognize and prevent some of this spam.
  • Follow the same rules for identifying spam and fraudulent messages as for email.
  • Here are the top ways to spot WhatsApp spam and how to fight it.

If you are a frequent WhatsApp user, you have probably noticed that the number of spam messages is increasing. Much like the epidemic of traditional spam phone calls and emails that plagued mobile users a few years ago, WhatsApp spam is starting to become a serious distraction. However, if you know what to look for, you can minimize the impact of WhatsApp spam by blocking and avoiding some of the worst things.

Recognize WhatsApp Spam

There are different types of WhatsApp spam, each with a unique signature format and method for avoiding it.

Suspicious links

The same rules for recognizing email and SMS spam also apply in WhatsApp. First and foremost, unsolicited messages from someone you don’t know that contain a link are likely spam. The purpose of the message is to make you tap the link and go to a website, send a payment, or download an app (whether or not


malware

† Don’t tap links in WhatsApp messages unless you know exactly what that link is going to do or belong to someone you trust.

Login Requests

You’ve probably seen a number of emails masquerading as login requests, password reset emails, notes, or other security-themed messages. In general, if you know the signs, it is quite easy to spot fraudulent login emails when you see them. On WhatsApp, it’s even easier: assume that 100% of unsolicited messages are fraud and spam. Real websites like online stores and banks don’t use WhatsApp to request logins, validate accounts, reset passwords or send emails with two-factor authentication. If you get something like this, it’s spam.

Frequently forwarded messages

One of the laziest ways for spammers to flood your inbox with spam is to forward messages to many people, all at once or in batches. Anyway, WhatsApp is pretty good at detecting this and notifying you. When you open a conversation, forwarded messages show an arrow with the forwarded at the top of the message; if it’s been forwarded more than five times, it will say instead: forwarded many times† If you see that, you can pretty much bet it’s some sort of unwanted spam and will be safely ignored.

A frequently forwarded message in WhatsApp

You can see at a glance whether a WhatsApp message has been forwarded more than five times.

Dave Johnson


How to stop WhatsApp spam

Now that you know what some of the most common types of WhatsApp spam look like, how can you deal with and stop it? Unfortunately, stopping spam is an uphill battle and it’s just not possible to completely eliminate it. There will always be a greater number of spammers targeting your inbox than you personally have the time or energy to fight. Still, these tactics can make a big dent in the amount of spam you receive.

Unsubscribe from groups

Group spam is common because it is convenient and time-saving for spammers to add many people to a group and then spam them all at once. Fortunately, it’s easy to stop strangers from adding you to groups in the first place.

In WhatsApp, tap Settings and then tap account† Tap Privacythan groups† By default, anyone can add you to a group, but you can switch it to My contacts or My contacts except and specify who cannot add you to a group in your contacts.

A frequently forwarded message in WhatsApp

You can see at a glance whether a WhatsApp message has been forwarded more than five times.

Dave Johnson


Report spammers

If you receive messages from someone and they are clearly spammy in nature, you can report that user directly to WhatsApp. Will this affect their account or the amount of spam you receive? It’s hard to say – but it only takes a moment to report a spammer, so it’s worth doing.

Open the conversation with the spammer, then tap their name at the top of the screen. On the Contact information page, scroll down and tap Business reporting or Report [phone number]depending on the type of user who has spammed you.

The reporting contact function in WhatsApp.

If you receive spam, please take a moment to report the sender.

Dave Johnson


Block a Spammer

Reporting the contact who sent you spam might be good for the WhatsApp community in general, but there is a way to have a more direct effect on your own WhatsApp inbox: you can block the user, which means they can no longer send you. messages or calls.

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