22 April, 2024

Stitch AI Issues a Warning to Business Owners on the Dangers of Impersonation Through WhatsApp Business Accounts

At Stitch AI, authorities on Business WhatsApp are alerting business leaders to a growing threat where swindlers are misusing the straightforward process of setting up WhatsApp Business Accounts to mimic reputable businesses.

This modern scam technique, reminiscent of historical email spoofing, now adopts the guise of WhatsApp, leveraging the platform’s widespread trust and casual communication style. The decentralised handling of WhatsApp Business Accounts, often by individual employees without central oversight, compounds this issue. This situation leaves consumers open to scams and businesses susceptible to losing their reputational standing, with fraudsters tricking individuals into parting with money under false pretenses or handing over confidential information.

Paul Gandar, Director at Stitch AI, emphasised the necessity of precautions, stating, “To guard against the risk of WhatsApp fraud, it is best practise to make your Business WhatsApp account prominent on your website, update your customer communications and privacy policies to advise the WhatsApp numbers that are ‘officially safe’ to communicate over, and inform staff that only WhatsApp chats over company sanctioned accounts are allowed.”

In light of this growing concern, it has been noted that the WhatsApp Business Platform, a more sophisticated tool offered by Meta, is significantly underused. Unlike the well-known WhatsApp Business App, this platform offers advanced features but is realistically available primarily through Meta Partners (BSPs) and WhatsApp Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), despite being technically accessible from Meta via an API. Stitch AI’s findings reveal that a vast majority of businesses interacting with consumers, 97%, are not familiar with this platform or the potential benefits it offers.

The WhatsApp Business Platform serves the critical function of centralising and managing business communications on WhatsApp. It allows companies to associate their WhatsApp Business Accounts with their primary landline numbers and centrally manage these accounts, drastically reducing the likelihood of impersonation. This central management ensures that businesses can reassure customers that any legitimate communication will come from an identifiable landline number, adding a layer of verification for consumers.

Paul called on businesses from a range of industries to adopt the WhatsApp Business Platform, saying, “We urge businesses across all sectors – from real estate and recruitment to travel and trade – to recognise the urgency of adopting the WhatsApp Business Platform. Not only does it streamline communications and enhance operational efficiency, but it also plays a crucial role in safeguarding consumers against fraud.

He also called for a rise in consumer vigilance regarding the authenticity of business communications on WhatsApp, advising, “Furthermore, we advocate for increased consumer awareness regarding the legitimacy of business communications on WhatsApp. Consumers should be encouraged to verify the origin of messages and remain cautious of any communication not linked to the known landline numbers of businesses.

Paul concluded by highlighting the critical need for vigilance in today’s digital communication landscape, stating, “In an era where digital communications are paramount, it is imperative that both businesses and consumers remain vigilant against the threats posed by technological impersonation. The adoption of the WhatsApp Business Platform represents a significant step forward in our collective effort to combat fraud and ensure a safe and trustworthy environment for digital business communications.”

For more information on how to utilise the WhatsApp Business Platform for enhanced business and customer protection, Stitch AI invites you to contact Paul or Andrew at Stitch AI Ltd (WhatsApp ISV), through a call or WhatsApp message on 0330 016 2940, or via email at support@stitch-ai.com.


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