Block messages and report as spam on WhatsApp

Once upon a time, spam only came to our inboxes in the form of coupons, offers, and other unsolicited messages. Then came the email inbox, where spam spread. Next came messaging apps, where spam became not only annoying, but also malicious. A bad actor may send you a spam message containing a malicious link. Click on that link and you could become a victim of ransomware.

Therefore, it is vital for you not only to avoid such messages but also to report the senders and block their addresses. By reporting those senders, you may very well prevent others from receiving the same spam.

Unfortunately, almost every messaging service is vulnerable to spam, including WhatsApp. If you are using this app then you should start blocking and reporting those bad actors.

Let me show you how.

Requirements

All you need is the installed Whatsapp (on Android or iOS) and a message you suspect is spam.

Block and report a message

Before I show you how to do this, never click on a link sent to you by a suspicious sender. Ever. Period of time. If you don’t know the sender, assume it’s spam and avoid tapping links at all costs.

1. Open the suspicious message

That said, find and tap on the message in question.

2. Access the sender’s details

After opening the message, tap the contact’s name or number at the top of the screen (Figure 1

A message as seen in Whatsapp.

A message on Whatsapp (although this is actually not spam).

Image: Jack Wallen

3. Block and report the sender

At the bottom of the sender details page (Figure 2), tap Block, then tap Report.

The sender details page in WhatsApp.

Blocking and reporting are two different actions on WhatsApp.

Image: Jack Wallen

Unblock a contact

For example, suppose you accidentally block a user, only to find out later that they were legitimate. How do you unblock them? Easy. Here’s how:

  1. open whatsapp.

  2. Tap the three-dot menu button and tap Settings.

  3. Tap Account > Privacy.

  4. Scroll down and tap Blocked Contacts.

  5. Tap the sender to unblock and (when prompted) tap Unblock NUMBER (where NUMBER is the number associated with the contact – figure 3

The Blocked Contacts screen in WhatsApp.

Unblock a contact in WhatsApp.

Image: Jack Wallen

And that’s all there is to block and report spam on WhatsApp. Remember that nowadays it is an absolute must not to tap on links or reply to messages from unknown contacts. Being careless with SMS and other types of incoming messages can lead you into a world of trouble, through ransomware and other types of attacks. And given the amount of sensitive data we keep on our mobile devices today, that extra caution will go a long way in protecting you from such attacks.

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