How To Spot A Fake WhatsApp Business Account

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How To Spot A Fake WhatsApp Business Account

Wondering how you can spot dangerous WhatsApp accounts, or questioning whether to block an account that’s contacted you recently? Perhaps you’re worried that the account that you’re chatting to on WhatsApp isn’t actually who they say they are?

WhatsApp takes the safety and security of its users very seriously, which is why the company does all that it can to verify numbers, monitor suspicious activity and block fraudsters from using the platform. Unfortunately, some scammers can still find a way to interact with genuine WhatsApp users, at least until they are reported and blocked.

While there’s no guaranteed way to protect yourself from scammers, there are some tell-tale signs that can help you confirm if you should be suspicious of a WhatsApp Business account. Stay safe on WhatsApp with our how-to guide to help you spot fake WhatsApp Business accounts.

Why do scammers use WhatsApp Business accounts?

WhatsApp is an incredibly popular messaging app, so it’s no wonder that criminals are exploiting it to get in touch with potential victims. Unfortunately, this type of crime seems to be on the rise in recent years. Reports of WhatsApp scams soared during the pandemic, with Lloyds Bank reporting an increase of over 2000% in January 2022. 

Common WhatsApp scams include the ‘friend or family member in need scam’, where fraudsters pose as a loved one who has lost their phone and purchased another one, and needs a transfer of money immediately to deal with an emergency. These scams are likely to be carried out using a personal WhatsApp account, to make them more believable.

However, scammers also use WhatsApp Business accounts to try to target potential victims. Businesses are more likely to have a legitimate reason for requesting personal and payment details from customers, so targets are less likely to question it before handing these valuable details over.

The ‘job offer scam’ is an example of a WhatsApp scam that is likely to be sent from a fraudulent WhatsApp Business account posing as a hiring manager or recruiter. Often these come in the form of unsolicited offers of flexible, well-paid, remote work, but the scammer will request sensitive personal information or an admin fee in order to proceed.

Another scam which is likely to come from an illegitimate WhatsApp Business account is the ‘fake giveaway or survey scam’. Often, scammers will impersonate a well-known company such as Amazon or Apple, and provide a link to a survey for the target to fill in, with the promise of being entered into a prize giveaway in return. In reality, the scammer may use the sensitive information provided by a target for identity theft or fraud.

How can you tell the difference between a personal WhatsApp account and a Business WhatsApp account?

It’s quick and easy to work out if an account is a personal account or a business account. Go to your individual chat with the account and tap on the contact’s name at the top of the chat window. This will take you through to their profile.

If the account is a business account, it will include one of two labels: Official business account or Regular Business account.

What is WhatsApp verification?

WhatsApp verification can help you to tell whether an account is authentic or not. If a company sets up an account on WhatsApp Business, it will automatically get the regular Business account label. Once Meta confirms that the account is the authentic presence for a particular business, the account will be able to display a verified badge next to its name.

The verified badge looks like a green badge icon with a white tick inside it:

Accounts that show the verified badge have confirmed that they represent who or what they say they do. It’s important to remember that business verification doesn’t mean that WhatsApp has endorsed a business, or checked its practices.

How can you tell if a WhatsApp Business account is verified?

You can tell if a WhatsApp Business account is verified in just a few clicks. Go to their profile and check their account name. If they have the label Official business account and the green verified icon next to their account name, the account has been verified by WhatsApp.

How to tell if you’re being contacted by a fake WhatsApp Business account

There are some tell-tale signs that can indicate you should be suspicious of a WhatsApp Business account. These include:

  • Spelling errors or grammatical mistakes in messages
  • Inviting you to click on an unknown link
  • Unwarranted requests for personal information such as your birth date, address or passwords
  • Unwarranted requests for payment information such as credit cards or bank account details
  • Requests for you to forward messages or links on to your contacts

How to stay safe on WhatsApp

It’s important to keep safety in mind when you’re interacting via WhatsApp. Follow these top tips to help keep your account secure:

  • Take a moment to pause and consider before you reply to an unexpected message
  • Be suspicious of pressure tactics – scammers may try to get you to reply quickly, before you have had time to check out their account
  • Question any unusual requests for money or information
  • Agree on a ‘password’ with your family and friends, which they can use to verify their identity with you if they have to get in touch through an unknown number
  • Use a known method of communication (such as a phone or video call) to verify that the contact’s identity
  • Set up two-factor authentication on your WhatsApp Business account
  • If you are suspicious, report the message directly to WhatsApp and block the contact

How to block or report fake WhatsApp Business accounts

If you have any suspicions about a WhatsApp Business account, you can block and report them.

Blocking an account means that you’ll stop getting messages, calls and status updates from that account.

Reporting them will send an alert to WhatsApp that they will investigate. When you report a contact, WhatsApp receives the last five messages sent to you by the reported user or group. The contact won’t be notified that you have done this. WhatsApp will investigate reported accounts, and if they are found to be in violation of WhatsApp’s Terms of Service, they may choose to ban the user.

How to block and report a WhatsApp Business account on Android

There are several ways to block and report WhatsApp Business accounts on Android:

  • Open WhatsApp, go to More Options, then choose Settings. Tap Privacy, then Blocked contacts. Choose Add. You can then search for or select the contact you want to block.
  • On the WhatsApp notification on the lock screen, tap the down arrow on the WhatsApp notification to see more info. Tap Block. If you want to report the account, check the report box before submitting.
  • On the chat with the contact, tap More, then Block, then Block. If you want to report the contact, choose Report contact, then Block. 
  • If the contact is using an unknown number, open the chat window with that number, then tap Block. If you want to report the contact, choose Report contact, then Block. 

How to block a WhatsApp Business account on iPhone

There are several ways to block and report WhatsApp Business accounts on Android:

  • Open WhatsApp and go to Settings. Tap Privacy, then Blocked, then Add New. You can then search for or select the contact you want to block.
  • On the WhatsApp notification on the lock screen, tap the down arrow on the WhatsApp notification to see more info. Tap Block. If you want to report the account, check the report box before submitting.
  • On the chat with the contact, tap the contact’s name, then Block Contact, then Block. Alternatively, choose Report contact, then Report and Block.
  • If the contact is using an unknown number, open the chat window with that number, then tap Block, then Block. Alternatively, you can tap their phone number, then choose Block Contact, then Block, or Report Contact, then Report and Block.

It goes without saying, but if you feel that you or anyone else is in immediate danger, contact your local emergency services for assistance.

How to make sure your business looks legitimate on WhatsApp Business

Get Meta Verified if it’s currently available in your location. See the Meta Verification page for more details, or to join the waitlist.

The following tips can help you give the right impression on WhatsApp Business:

  • Maintain a good level of spelling and grammar in your messages. You can use Quick Replies or templated messages to help with this.
  • Make sure your business profile is filled in and includes up-to-date information such as your current business name, address and opening hours.
  • Ensure that any information you request from customers is warranted, and that they expect you to ask for this information. Always collect and store identifying information or payment details in a secure way.
  • Offer to verify your identity via phone call if customers request this.

How YourBusinessNumber can help your business make a good first impression

Don’t have a dedicated phone number for your business yet? Still using your personal WhatsApp account for business purposes? You’re not alone – but unfortunately, it doesn’t make a great first impression from your customers’ perspectives.

If you use the same mobile number for your personal chats and your company comms too, you’re really missing out. Not only do your customers have no way to verify if you are who you say you are, you also face the risk of storing your personal and professional contacts in the same app. That means a higher risk of sending a potentially NSFW message to your clients or colleagues.

Not to mention all the opportunities you lose out on when you don’t use the tailor-built tools provided on WhatsApp Business to supercharge your productivity. That includes automation, categorisation, business profiles and catalogues that can help revolutionise the way you do business on WhatsApp.

So how can you get started with WhatsApp Business, without needing to buy a new mobile phone for work purposes?

Enter: YourBusinessNumber. In just three clicks, we’ll get you set up with a brand new unique mobile phone number that you can use to verify WhatsApp Business.

And with low-cost, flexible payment plans, it’s a cost-effective alternative to traditional mobile phone contracts. So what are you waiting for? Generate your new second mobile phone number today and harness the power of WhatsApp Business.

Author:

Picture of George Lineker

George Lineker

The co-founder of YourBusinessNumber, George has a lasting interest in modern communications technology, and is an advocate of simple and easy to use tools for businesses of all sizes. He has a background in mobile telecom solutions along with qualifications in business and management support services.
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