WhatsApp is one of the most used messaging apps in the world. Pretty much everyone you know is on WhatsApp. You know what that means? If you have somebody’s number, chances are he/she also has WhatsApp installed on their smartphone. Why does it matter?
The way WhatsApp works is simple. I will save your number and will instantly know if you have it installed or not. All I have to do is perform a search within the app. Armed with this information, I can now send you unsolicited messages and even calls which can be annoying as hell, to say the least.
I recently received messages telling me how badly I needed hosting for my domains, and how 'expert' they are at SEO. How they knew I owned a certain domain name is a different ‘spam’ story altogether.
This is when I started looking for a solution on how to block unknown WhatsApp numbers that are not saved in my contacts. But first let's quickly see how to block numbers that you've got in your contacts.
Fun Fact: Jan Koum, one of WhatsApp founders, posted on Twitter that the Android team comprises of just 5 people. They were responsible for reaching 1 billion downloads on Play Store. Very small, focused team, and a very big impact.
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Block WhatsApp Numbers Saved in Contacts
These are the people you know. You have saved their number in your contacts app. Time to stop receiving those annoying forwarding messages!
Open the chat window of the contact that you want to block. You know, the one who is spreading rumors and fake news. Now, click on his/her name on the top. I will try this with my dad! He keeps sending me this quote of the day messages.
Scroll down and you should see the Block button. Click on it and confirm. The number is now added to the block list. You can unblock again by clicking the same button that should now say Unblock.
Note: You cannot block numbers in bulk. You will need to repeat the steps for every contact you want to block.
Block Unknown WhatsApp Numbers Not in Contacts
These are the people who send you spammy links with deals and discounts that will 'blow' your mind. When you receive such a message from an unknown number, open the chat window and ask if he/she knows you.
Why? Last week I joined Bob Proctor's webinar and his assistant reached out via WhatsApp. Fortunately, I didn't block her right away. Don’t go on a blocking spree just because you are feeling annoyed. Maybe, it concerns you in some way.
If you feel the message is obviously spam then open the chat window. Near the top, you will see two options: Block or Add.
If you feel the message is useful or you know the sender, click Add and save the number. Otherwise, click on Block. You will see a popup that will ask you to either Block the contact or Report and Block. I prefer the latter.
Note: When you report a WhatsApp number, the number is added to a Watchlist maintained by WhatsApp. If the number is reported multiple times by a lot of users, it will be banned temporarily. Think of it as a warning to curb spam. WhatsApp may ban the number permanently on their sole discretion. Exact details are not available on their official help page.
Privacy and Security Steps
WhatsApp is not only simple and easy to use, but also simple and easy to use the wrong way. This is what makes it a breeding ground of fake news and spammy links for nefarious people. If you are not careful, people can view a lot of information on you and use it to send messages that look less like spam.
This is why, I think you can stop some amount of spam by taking care of your privacy and security settings.
Click on the three dots on the top right of your screen and click on settings.
Click on Account.
You should now see two options at the top. Privacy and Security along with some additional options like Two-step verification, which I suggest you enable. Click on Privacy for now.
Here you will see a bunch of options. Let’s see what they are and what they mean.
Last seen: Tells others when you were last active on WhatsApp. I set it to Nobody
Profile photo: Who can view your profile photo. I set it to My contacts.
About: Who can see your short bio that tells the world who you are and what you do. Again, My contacts
Status: Your status message. I have set it to My contacts.
Live Location: Where you are at. I set it to None because it consumes battery and because I don’t like WhatsApp collecting data on my whereabouts. I think the recent Facebook scandal made me paranoid!
Blocked contacts: This is where you will find all the numbers you have blocked in previous steps, whether or not they were in your contacts.
How to stop something you can’t see coming? Unfortunately, WhatsApp allows users to send messages to others whether or not they want it. What you can do is manage your privacy settings, and block unknown numbers when they send you messages/spam.