I'm a tech expert – millions making five common WhatsApp mistakes that’ll leave you out of pocket including 'text bite' | The Sun

DANGEROUS mistakes on WhatsApp can cost you privacy and even money.

A leading cyber-expert has warned all WhatsApp users over five common mistakes that you need to avoid.

WhatsApp is one of the world's most popular chat apps, with billions of users logging on to send texts at least once a month.

One of its biggest perks is "encrypted" chatting that keeps your messages safe from prying eyes.

But cyber-expert Alex Merton-McCann has revealed some of the mistakes that can leave you at risk.

That's because even though the Meta-owned app is considered "secure", there is still a weakness: you.

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Each of the five mistakes could put you in serious cybersecurity risk, according to Alex, who works as Cyber Safety Ambassador at McAfee.

Crooks can use plenty of methods to extract money from you.

It might involve simply nabbing your financial info – from you, or via a friend using your account.

Or they could use their wily ways to get cash transfers from your or your family – like with the common "Hi mum, it's me" scam.

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Similarly, once crooks hijack your device, they could steal money directly, use your information or photos to extort you, or spy on what you're doing.

How to stay safe on WhatsApp

The first mistake is not having Automatic Updates on.

"Keeping your WhatsApp software up to date is essential as updates will almost always include fixes or ‘patches’ for new vulnerabilities and threats," Alex explained in an official McAfee 2023 security memo.

"Why not automate them to ensure that this happens? This means you won’t be at risk if you forget to update the software yourself."

Next up: be very careful with what you share in the app.

It might seem safe to send sensitive info in WhatsApp, including passing "crucial financial information" to loved ones.

But there's every chance your device ends up in the wrong hands – or it's infected with dangerous spyware.

At that point, it's possible that criminals could still get their hands on your messages – and ultimately the contents of your bank.

Thirdly, Alex recommends ignoring suspicious messages.

"As anyone can message anyone on WhatsApp, it’s inevitable you may receive some random or suspicious looking messages," Alex advised.

"Always err on the side of caution and do not respond to direct messages from people you don’t know.

"If you receive a promotional offer from a company that is quite tempting, go directly to their website to confirm."

Alex said that it's important not to "bite" when receiving a phishing text.

Scammers send thousands of these messages, so staying vigilant is extremely important.

The fourth tip is to add a PIN to your WhatsApp account.

By adding additional layers of security to your WhatsApp, it can stop unwanted intruders.

"Without your 6-digit pin number, a hacker can’t get into your account, even if they get their hands on the SMS code they need to activate your account on another device. And it takes 30 seconds to set up!

Fifth, be very wary of "social hacking".

"This is how it works: a hacker, who has hijacked one of your friend’s accounts, will message you asking for the 6-digit code that’s just been sent to your account," Alex warned.

"They will say it’s meant for them. And as you ‘know’ this person, you are likely to send that code straight through without even questioning them.

"But in fact, the 6-digit code in question has been requested by the hacker for your account, so the minute you share it – you will be immediately locked out!"

The advice from Alex is to never share your six-digit code with anyone else.

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Even if it a friend or family member asks for it, simply don't pass it on.

There's never a legitimate reason for someone else to need your WhatsApp code, according to the McAfee expert.

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