A Saint Lucian has sounded the alarm after someone hacked his WhatsApp account, leaving him without access to the service.
Since Wednesday’s incident, the unfortunate victim whom we will call ‘Jayden Marius’ for easy reference, said his telephone contacts have been receiving requests from the hacker for ‘nira’, the currency Nigeria uses.
‘Marius’ recalled receiving a call from a relative’s number before the hack occurred.
He said the relative is part of a family group chat.
‘Marius’ told St. Lucia Times that he was preoccupied at the time he received the call and although he did not recognise the voice at the other end of the static-filled call, he assumed that the family member had asked someone else to contact him regarding a group call within an hour.
Having agreed to participate in the group chat, ‘Marius’ said the voice at the other end of the WhatsApp call forwarded a code, indicating it was for the proposed chat.
“It sounded suspicious, but I was preoccupied and I was trying to get rid of the call because I was doing other stuff,” the victim recalled.
He said he proposed looking at the code later, but the hacker urged him to do so immediately.
“Right there on the screen was a six-digit code. I said ‘Yes. I see the code.’ They said, ‘Tell me what it is.’ Again that sounded an alarm, but to get rid of the call because I am occupied and talking to somebody else, I just gave the person the six-digit code that was appearing on my screen,” ‘Marius’ told St. Lucia Times.
The consequences proved disastrous.
Having obtained the code, the hacker ended the conversation.
The victim said his WhatsApp account disappeared and a message requested that he register again.
‘Marius’ said he tried to re-register and re-install, to no avail.
Then on Wednesday evening, people were inundating his telephone with calls.
“They were calling me asking what’s wrong with my WhatsApp account. Somebody was messaging them asking them for seven hundred nira. Not somebody, but I was messaging them,” ‘Marius stated.
He said his contacts recognised there was a problem, because Saint Lucia does not use that currency.
But there was more.
‘Marius’ belongs to an organisation and asked a colleague to post in its group chat that someone had hacked his WhatsApp account.
“Because I am an administrator in that group, what the individual did was to remove the other administrator, change the settings in the group chat so that only administrators could message and deleted every message sent about the hacked account,” the victim lamented.
“So nobody was able to message. Nobody was able to receive the message and everybody else was just receiving messages from that individual asking for 700 nira,” he told St. Lucia Times.
“Every WhatsApp group in which I was administrator, the person did the same thing – removed every other administrator,” ‘Marius’ disclosed.
“It’s simple and it sounds like you are stupid to have accepted that, but you have to understand the personal thing with me and that family group chat. When the person called I remembered seeing a missed notification about a family group call in that same group chat. So I thought, ‘Okay, that sounds genuine,’ he said.
“We have family members from around the world,” ‘Marius’ stated.
Based on his experience, he has warned others to beware of people calling them on WhatsApp regarding a six-digit code.
“That code gives them access to your WhatsApp account,” ‘Marius’ said.