WhatsApp has sounded an official warning to users, urging them to ensure they’re using the correct version of the app. WhatsApp “clone” apps are doing the rounds and, although they promise extra features that are unavailable in the regular version of the app, they carry huge risks as users may be banned or even spied on.
Whatsapp said: “Unofficial Whatsapp apps are altered versions of our app, which means they’re developed by third-parties and violate our Terms of Service. We don’t support these apps because they put your privacy, security, and safety at risk.
"If you use them, there’s no guarantee your messages or your data like your location or the files you share will be private and secure." Dangers from using a fake app could include total strangers being able to read your messages and see your photos.
WhatsApp added: "These apps put your privacy, security, and safety at risk. If you’re using them, there’s no guarantee your messages or your data, like your location or the files you share, will be private and secure. Your account might also be temporarily or permanently banned."
To make sure you’re using the correct version of the app, check official store pages for iPhone on iOS and on Android.You’ll see that the official version of WhatsApp will have millions of ratings and billions of downloads.
If you’re using a fake app, you may already have received an alert from Google, as the search engine issues warnings to users who have downloaded WhatsApp "clones".
WhatsApp said: "If you’ve received this Play Protect Warning from Google, you’re likely using an unauthorised and unofficial version of WhatsApp. Due to security concerns, Google may disable and uninstall these applications."
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that switching back to the official WhatsApp app will allow you to move over your chat history, so you might need to give up old texts to migrate to the official app.