Avoid clicking on a link that claims to have come from WhatsApp. It will likely infect your phone. Image Credit: Agencies

Dubai: WhatsApp users in UAE have been alerted about a scam doing the rounds that trick them into clicking a malicious link.

Some random messages have apparently landed in the inboxes of consumers, enticing them to download the so-called app called “WhatsApp Gold.”

The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said on Thursday that such links should be avoided, as they can undermine people’s privacy. Users should also exercise with caution when they encounter other third-party applications.

“Beware of WhatsApp Gold and other third-party applications that claim to include special features,” the TRA said on Twitter.

“Such applications are unsafe and threaten your privacy.”

Security experts in other markets had earlier issued warnings about fraudulent links sent out to WhatsApp users.

The National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre in the UK said that consumers are being tricked by scammers into downloading a fake version of WhatsApp that’s only designed to infect mobile phones with malware.

“The scam messages claim to offer enhanced features used by celebrities. Victims are urged to sign up via a link provided,” said the centre on its website.

“After clicking on the link, you will be redirected to a fake page and your Android device will become infected with malware.”

How to protect yourself

Kaspersky Lab had earlier shared the following tips to protect users against malicious links:

1. Install apps only from official stores. It’s wise to disable installation of apps from third-party sources, which you can do in your smartphone settings.

2. If in doubt, don’t download. Pay attention to misspelled app names, small numbers of downloads, or dubious requests for permissions — any of these things should raise flags.

3. Install a reliable security solution. This will protect your device from most malicious apps and files, suspicious websites, and dangerous links. In the free version scans must be run manually; the paid version scans automatically.