Many users are coming across ad campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and inside WhatsApp itself promoting a so-called Gold Edition of the program that supposedly has features that the original doesn’t. OK, let it be known that unlike other inoffensive variants like WhatsApp Plus, this is actually a scam that adds a charge to your monthly bill but provides no service whatsoever.
WhatsApp Gold and the SMS Premium scam
The scam has even been flagged on the official Twitter account of Spain’s National Police, although it’s not by a long shot the first time that we see this sort of hustle on the Internet. You probably see ads in your feed every day along the lines of ‘Find out who’s blocked you’ or ‘See how many people have viewed your profile’, no matter what network you’re using. In these cases, the most sensible course is to consult official sources and compare it with the information of the product you’re considering downloading. For the millionth time: common sense.
In the case of WhatsApp Gold Edition, you’ll be redirected to a downloads page where you have to enter your phone number, supposedly to confirm the app’s installation, although what it really does it validate the well-known “Premium messages” scam that will charge up to €40 ($51) to your phone bill.
Usually, you should give a miss to any app or service that offers some sort of juicy but completely prohibited feature. In fact, it’s common for scams of this sort to use hooks like ‘Spy on your friends’ conversations’. Not even Google Play is completely free of apps that turn to trickery surrounding the well-known IM service.
Is WhatsApp Plus secure?
We’ve already talked here before about this free, unofficial user-created mod that adds certain features to the official client, such as a greater theme customization options, the ability to send your contacts photos and videos in their original size, and the inclusion of new emoticons, among the many other additions or ‘tweaks’. The app is not found on Google Play as it is an illegal mod, but it’s quite clear that it’s harmless.
It’s not the only add-on out there that seems a priori free of any sinister intention. OGWhatsApp is an app that lets you have two WhatsApp clients installed simultaneously, with one associated with a separate phone number to use both for conversations at the same time. WaSend, for its part, adds the option to send files of up to 150MB via WhatsApp, with the only condition that both parties have the app installed.