WhatsApp scam victim loses £6,000 as police issue urgent warning
A person has lost £6,000 in a WhatsApp scam as police issue an urgent warning of a surge in cases.
The current scam usually involves a message on WhatsApp, but sometimes a text or phone call, from someone claiming to be a family member, and is intended to trick the recipient into transferring money.
There have been reports across the UK but police in Northern Ireland say someone was tricked into handing over £6,000 to a crook.
Belfast live reports Superintendent Gerard Pollock, Chairman of the ScamwiseNI Partnership, said: “We are seeing more and more reports in recent months of this type of scam from individuals across Northern Ireland.
“In each case, a person claiming to be a family member, often a daughter or son, asks for money. Typically, the “child” runs out of money or pays late bills and asks the recipient to transfer money to an account. This is supported by a story that he or she recently changed their phone or phone number.
“It is a despicable act, which takes advantage of a person’s willingness to help loved ones who may be far from home.
“In some of these cases, the victim was careful enough to check with the parent and therefore realized it was a scam before walking away with the money. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Just last week a victim lost £6,000 after receiving one of these messages.
“It’s really important that if you have older family members that you speak with them and let them know about this particular type of scam. It’s a really important conversation to have.”
Superintendent Pollock continued: ‘The fraudsters will try anything to deceive people. Scams can come in all shapes and sizes, but they have one thing in common: scammers rely on the good faith and vulnerability of those they target. Hard-earned savings can easily disappear in a flash, and with them, confidence.
“Please don’t get caught. If you receive a message, contact your son or daughter on their usual number. Do not enter into a text or WhatsApp conversation with the scammers. Identify it. Stop that.”
If you receive a suspicious message, whether via email, website, or text message, you can take the following actions:
- Email – if you are unsure about an email you have received, you can forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Services at [email protected]
- Website – If you have come across a website that you think is fake, you can report it here Report Suspicious Website – https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/about-this-website/report-scam-website
- Text Message – Report suspicious text messages to 7726 for free. Your provider can investigate the text and take action if it turns out to be fraudulent.
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