WHATSAPP users are being warned about a scam that could see criminals steal thousands from them.
The WhatsApp scam involves cyber-criminals posing as friends or family to convince you to give them money.
The WhatsApp scam involves a cyber-criminal pretending to be someone you know[/caption]
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has been warning people about the fraud.
An example of the scam has been given by the CTSI in a statement on its website.
It revealed: “A member of the public named Alison received a message on the popular messaging platform WhatsApp: “Hi mum, I’ve dropped my phone down the loo (sad emoji) this is my new number.”
“Alison replied to the message and asked if it was her son, Will, to which the scammer replied in the affirmative.
“The very next day, Alison’s ‘son’ messaged her asking for £2,600 and explained that he had got mixed up with loan sharks and needed to pay up. Alison didn’t doubt the message for a moment.”
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The CTSI went on to explain how Alison did try and ring the number she thought belonged to her son but kept receiving excuses as to why ‘he’ couldn’t answer.
The scammer pressured Alison into paying quickly so she tried to send money to the scammer’s bank details.
Fortunately, she forgot to click the final payment confirmation and the money wasn’t sent.
She later found out it was a scam after the cyber-criminal started asking for proof the money had been sent.
CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “This is not the first time I have seen this type of message, which is highly deceptive. Scammers are experts at exploiting the emotional vulnerability of the public, and this is a particularly insidious example of it.
“When receiving a message out of the blue like this, always be suspicious and doubly so when money is involved.
“Alison did the right thing by trying to call the number to verify, but as we see, fraudsters are skilled at influencing quick action, and she almost lost money to it.”
In the UK, you can forward suspicious texts to 7726, which is a free Ofcom service that will look into the suspected scam.
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