WhatsApp is everywhere nowadays - from school going kids sharing TikTok video links with each other, to seniors exchanging good morning and good night messages daily.

According to the 2020 Internet Users Survey conducted by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), 98.7 per cent of the country's citizens preferred the application as their main medium of communication.

With the widespread usage, comes also the risk of scams and theft of personal data, Personal Data Protection Commissioner Mazmalek Mohamad has warned.

According to him, telephone numbers are personal data that are most valuable now, and are at risk of being used by unscrupulous parties to either make a profit or to harm someone.

Therefore, it is advisable for the public to avoid joining WhatsApp groups that are not beneficial, to prevent their numbers from being shared, he told a recent media briefing.

"Sometimes we don't know all the members of the group. Unknown to us, some members of the group secretly share our phone numbers with others.

"And when all the numbers of the people in the group have been shared with a scammer, or a telemarketing agency, the person will leave the WhatsApp group and join another group," he warned, reported Bernama.

As such, many Malaysians are at risk of fraud or scams, he further noted.

A law that can address such problems - amendment to the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (Act 709) is currently under review by the Attorney-General's Chambers and is expected to be tabled in Parliament in October, said the report.

A very useful advise indeed. Many a times, we tolerate being added to WhatsApp groups we hardly know or have purpose in, but perhaps, after this warning, it is worth reviewing all the groups that we are in, to avoid becoming a data theft, or scam victim.

Source: Bernama
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