Unless you’ve been living beneath a rock for the past month, you’ll have heard of Wordle. But a warning of copycat apps and scams has been issued to anyone playing the viral word puzzle game.
Wordle has become a roaring success story. The free-to-use game is enjoyed by millions across the UK after rising in popularity over the Christmas period.
The simple game was created by software engineer Josh Wardle from Brooklyn, New York. It was actually intended to be a brain teaser to keep him and his girlfriend occupied during lockdown, but it’s now become a phenomenon loved by adults and children alike. Even smart celebrities like Richard Osman and Countdown’s Suzie Dent have developed and shared strategies for the game!
The game is available for everyone to play on their web browser, and the best part is that there are no adverts and you don't need to sign up for anything. There is one Wordle per day, so unlike most games which you can play repetitively, you have to wait until the next day once you’ve had your go.
Still none the wiser? Click here to jump down the page for more details on the game.
But with most things, there's always something that comes along to spoil our fun.
Users are now being told to stay alert to bogus versions of the game, and a Wordle warning has been issued to players.
There are suggestions that copycat versions of the game could trick users into "malicious scams". The game is free to play, and although its creator has recently sold the rights to the game to the New York Times for a seven-figure sum, the NYT have agreed for the game to remain free to play. For now at least. So beware of any clone apps that ask for money, as these are likely to be scams.
The problem with the game at the moment is that it has no trademark, leaving it wide open to cloned versions popping up in app stores.
With the popularity of the game through the roof, hundreds of rogue Wordle apps have appeared in the iOS App Store as well as Google Playstore. However, none of these are official or from the actual creator of the game, or indeed the NYT. In fact, some of these apps could be damaging to your phone.
Whilst some of the Wordle clones feature paid subscriptions, others contain invasive adverts. Apple has banned many of the Wordle clones from appearing in its store, and has issued a warning about what users should be aware of. This is actually a rare move from Apple, as it does not tend to remove copycat versions of other games.
If you're unsure about the legitimacy of any Wordle app, simply don't download it. Instead, stick to playing it on the official NYT website, which can be accessed from any browser.
It's worth noting that some copycat versions - including Lewdle and Sweardle, aimed at the more adult market, and the tricky four-games-in-one Quordle - have simply taken advantage of the game's lack of copyright and produced very similar versions for free and without any malicious intent. Check out The Guardian's Top 5 Wordle spin-offs, including one for fans of Taylor Swift!
More on Wordle
The aim of the game is to find a word, with six attempts to fill in the blanks of a five-letter word.
Like Scrabble, only real words are allowed both in guesses and the result. If you submit your guess, and match a letter to the right spot in the correct word, the square turns green. But if the guessed letter is in the word but not in the right spot, the square turns yellow. Letters which are wrong turn grey to help the process of elimination for the six tries. These are the clues you need to guess the correct word.
Players get one chance a day to solve each daily game. Once you finish the puzzle, a timer counting down the hours until you can play the next game will appear.
The site keeps track of your statistics, assuming you access it from the same device each time, showing the number of correct answers you've managed over the days, plus your winning streak.
You can also share the results via a spoil-free way using an emoji-fied version, which appears when you click the share button. But don’t - under any circumstances - reveal the answer on social media, unless you want to incur the wrath of players who have yet to have a go at cracking it. Keep the answer to yourself until a new day has dawned! That is the number one rule of 'Wordle Club'!
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).