The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is warning the public about the continued increase in reports about scams where victims are targeted on WhatsApp by criminals pretending to be someone they know – typically their children.
Criminals will usually begin the conversation with “Hello Mum” or “Hello Dad” and will say that they are texting from a new mobile number as their phone was lost or damaged. They will then ask for money to purchase a new one or claim that they need money urgently to pay a bill.
The criminal will provide bank details for the payment to be made to, with some coming back with further demands for money.
Between 3rd February 2022 and 21st June 2022, there have been a total of 1235 reports made to Action Fraud linked to this scam, with total reported losses exceeding £1.5mn.
What you need to do
- STOP. THINK. CALL. If a family member or friend makes an unusual request on WhatsApp, always call the person to confirm their identity.
- You can report spam messages or block a sender within WhatsApp. Press and hold on the message bubble, select 'Report' and then follow the instructions.
- Never share your account's activation code (that's the 6 digit code you receive via SMS)
For more information about how to protect online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk and www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk