#WeekendWisdom 087 WhatsApp Number Recycling

Welcome to #WeekendWisdom number 87. This week we’re going to talk about WhatsApp number recycling.

Recycling is good for the environment, isn’t it?

Earlier this week I was in doing a quarterly health check for one of my clients and I went up to one of the new members of staff. She was showing me her new phone that she had just gotten with the new number for the business. She had just set up WhatsApp and she was getting these strange messages coming into her and she was wondering how these were happening.

What it looks like is that the phone company they’re signed up with have reused or recycled a previous mobile number that had been assigned to somebody else.

How does WhatsApp Number Recycling occur?

Now if you think about it with WhatsApp when you set up an account all you need to authenticate is your mobile number. So in this case somebody had previously had that mobile number that this new member of staff has got now, people who were sending messages to her old number, to that other person’s number maybe in WhatsApp groups or whatever, they’re now going to this new phone that this member of staff has.

How do you protect against this?

The first thing I told her that she should do to protect her account is to setup the two factor authentication and there is also a recovery email option in there as well. So if you do find you’re getting strange messages on a new account or new number then that’s probably what’s happening.

Is this something new?

This has been going on for quite some time because I actually wrote this back in January 2019 and I have a link to the blog post I wrote about it back then. But this is now happening or seems to be happening here now in Ireland.

So that’s it for this week. Lets be careful out there and we’ll talk to you again next week.

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