North Wales Police receiving reports of a WhatsApp impersonation scam which attempts to steal money
A warning has been issued over a WhatsApp scam that attempts to impersonate family members in a bid to steal money.
North Wales Police Cyber Crime Team said a number of people have reported the scam recently.
How the scam works:
The fraudster sends a message on WhatsApp claiming to be a family member or friend.
The message may appear to come from an unknown number or from the ‘correct’ number, if a phone number has been spoofed or a Whatsapp account hacked.
If the message is from an unknown number, the fraudster – posing as the family member or friend – will claim that there has been an emergency or accident, and they are having to use a different phone.
The fraudster will then ask for money to pay an urgent bill or help them out of a financial difficulty, and provide account details of where to send the money to. They often try to deter you from calling, such as having poor signal.
The fraudster exploits the apparent relationship with the victim, as well as applies significant pressure, to make the victim act quickly and not question the request.
North Wales Police, Cyber Crime Officer, Dewi Owen said: “A number of people are still reporting that they are receiving the below type of scam message, mainly through WhatsApp across North Wales.”
“Dad I’ve changed my mobile number today.”
Followed by “I’m locked out of bank account due to the new number, could you help by paying an invoice for me and I’ll pay you back tomorrow when I’ve sorted the number out with the bank. Here are the payment details XXXXXX.”
Dewi said: “Similar messages claim that the son or daughter has dropped their phone down the toilet and are therefore using a different phone.”
“They then ask to borrow money for a few days to pay the mortgage and promise to pay it back.”
“Most of these messages are sent via WhatsApp and victims are sending substantial sums of money to the fraudsters.”
“Please make sure that nobody in your family falls for it!”
Police have issued this advice:
-Be wary of any text or email received out of the blue, even if it appears to come from a genuine source or a family member.
-Always verify ANY request made for money to be sure it is genuine.
-Don’t give out personal details over the phone, online or by text.
-Never click on links or attachments in emails or texts unless you are certain that they are from someone that you can trust.
-Scam text messages should be forwarded to 7726 (spells SPAM on phone keypad)
-Scam emails should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org
Banking group Santander said it has seen a 532% increase in the scam from August to November 2021
65% impersonated victim’s son, 33% daughter, 1% friend; 1% mum or other.
Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Control, Santander UK:
“We’ve seen the volume of WhatsApp scams skyrocket over the last few months.”
“By preying on people’s relationships with their loved ones, while simultaneously applying immense pressure, these crooks are successfully getting into people’s heads and persuading them to hand over their hard-earned cash. Don’t let them win – verify who you’re messaging, before sending money.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com