Over the years, WhatsApp has become one of the most widely used means of communication.
One of the reasons WhatsApp users will give for choosing it over other social media platforms is the fact that only someone with their contact should be able to contact them.
So it must be quite disturbing to receive WhatsApp messages or calls from a contact they don’t know pretending to know them or claiming to have an offer for them.
Naturally one will want to know how, if possible to trace these people.
You can track a scammer on WhatsApp by using a third-party app or seeking the help of a professional.
Types of scammers on WhatsApp
Scammers are people who contact you most especially through emails or social media platforms pretending to be what they are not and asking for money in exchange for a service that would ideally be free.
The most common kinds of scams on WhatsApp include;
Career scams: You may get messages or links in your WhatsApp inbox with fake job offers that in most cases will require you to offer a financial initiative to get them.
Investment scams: We all like making money, some faster than others, and at times you may get someone in your inbox offering you a quick way to make money or double what you have.
And of course, you have to put in something to get something; the bigger the investment, the better.
Prize/award scams: A scammer may contact you claiming to have a prize you won in a lottery or promotion that in most cases you never even participated in.
Phishing Scams: This is when someone claiming to be from a trustworthy entity like a government agency, your phone carrier, or bank; contacts you and inquires for your personal information like passwords, account details, and credit card numbers among others.
Romantic scams: People will create bogus profiles and contact you pretending to be from a certain country and are interested in a relationship with you.
In the due course of talking they will end up asking for money for things like help with sick relatives, and airfares to come visit you among others.
How WhatsApp scammers get your info
As I have already mentioned, WhatsApp is supposed to be private, so you may wonder how the scammers got your contact in the first place.
There are different ways these people may get your contact, for example;
- Information filled out in surveys
- Information filled in at public places that may require your credentials to access them
- Hacked private records like bank details
- And in some cases, some employees of your mobile career may sell out this information.
2 Ways to track scammers on WhatsApp
Regardless of what you may have read, there is no sure way to 100% track down a scammer on WhatsApp.
This is mainly due to the application’s privacy system of end-to-end encryption that prevents anyone from accessing messages that aren’t theirs.
Furthermore, most of the time scammers use fake numbers that aren’t registered to them, so it will be hard to track them to their doorstep.
Nevertheless, you can still get a rough idea of what country, state, or city where the scammers are contacting you by using one of these methods;
1. Using third-party applications
Several applications have been known for helping to track down locations of phone numbers, although most of them require payment to give precise locations.
Spy Dialer can work but for only US numbers and it will give you the names of the person, along with the city in which they are located.
Open Spydialer, type in the number you would like to locate, and click on Search.
Since it only works for US numbers, you do not have to attach a country code to the number.
You will be asked to verify the number that you are looking up. select Name lookup, confirm you are not a robot, and enter.
Your results will include the physical location of the number and the type of device they seem to be using.
Click on Phone details for more information like Google Maps and you can even zoom in and out on the map
Truecaller will tell you the country that the number is calling from but you will have to pay to get any more details like names and addresses.
2. Using professional services
You can seek the help of a professional in either the legal field or the cyber security industry to help you track the scammer.
A cyber security professional may be able to track down the IP (Internet Protocol) address and consequently the physical location of the fraudster.
However, you should note that if you are to pursue this route you will most definitely have to pay a certain amount and will need to have stored evidence to aid in the process.
Some of this evidence includes; chat history, any details that may have been provided by the scammer, any reports made, and so on.
Even then, you may not be successful in getting your scammer.
How to report WhatsApp scammer
Reporting a WhatsApp scammer has its advantages; like helping in the process of tracking them down, avoiding a worse situation in the future, and helping prevent others from falling prey to the same person.
To report a scammer;
Open your WhatsApp chat window with the suspected number. If you have not chatted with the scammer, the option to Block should be available right there in the window.
When you select Block, you will be given an option to report the contact at the same time.
Note that the person will not be notified when you block or report them.
Otherwise, click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner and select more. Choose either to report or block.
Alternatively, you can also open WhatsApp, go to Settings > Help > Contact us, type your message regarding the scammer you would like to report, and click on Next.
Instead of choosing any of the offered articles choose to send your ‘question’ to WhatsApp support instead.
Also Read; WHY PEOPLE USE WHATSAPP INSTEAD OF TEXTING
q. Which country code is 234 in WhatsApp?
Whenever you receive a message or call on WhatsApp from a number that is not saved in your phonebook, it always starts with a country code.
If you are getting messages or calls from a number starting with +234 then it is from Nigeria.
q. What is the code 223 on WhatsApp?
+223 is the country code for Mali and it comes before any phone number that is not saved to your contacts but is originating from that country.
q. Does the USA use +234?
If you are within the USA it is possible to receive a call or message with the area code 234 from the region of Ohio (Akron, Canton, Warren, and Youngstown).
However it will either start with the country code, area code then phone number [1 (234) 203 2222], or it can start with the area code in brackets followed by the phone number [(234) 203 2222].
q. WhatsApp scammer list
There is no particular list of known WhatsApp scammers, but there are a few ways to tell if someone is a scammer and not a person you know who just recently got your contact:
Check the owner of the number: This should be the first thing you do the moment you receive a new message from an unknown contact. You can do several actions to confirm that the person is who they claim to be or work in the organization they are claiming to be.
Depending on your location, you can try;
- Sending money to the number
- Using applications like Truecaller and Mr. Number
- Using websites like Google Search, 411.com, and whitepages.com
- Placing a direct call to the phone carrier or organization they claim to work for and inquire
- Try using social media platforms especially.
Check the profile picture: Tap on the profile image of the number and see if you recognize the person.
You can also use Google image search to see if it is one of those images from the internet or whether it has been used on other social media sites probably by the same scammer.
Analyze the sent message: In most cases, messages from scammers have the wrong English, are incorrectly phrased, and sometimes do not even make sense.
They may also have links to follow that lead to insecure websites or have instructions asking for your details or to send them money usually with some sense of urgency.
As established, tracking a scammer on WhatsApp is not an easy or cheap task, so it is better to evade them however you can.
You can enable WhatsApp’s two-step verification to help with the security of your account and block or report any suspicious numbers.
Avoid clicking on any links from unfamiliar numbers, do not send personal passwords or details to anyone, and avoid engaging in conversations with people you do not know. Remember curiosity killed the cat.