Scam warning: WhatsApp scam alert could cost you £1000

Cybersecurity experts say scammers have devised more sophisticated ways to steal from WhatsApp users.

Scam warning: WhatsApp scam alert could cost you £1000
© Getty/ Gado
Scam warning: WhatsApp scam alert could cost you £1000

Police in the UK are warning users of popular messaging app, WhatsApp to beware of a scam that has cost Brits to lose thousands of pounds. According to the Hertfordshire Police, scammers target victims by posing as distressed family members.

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False SOS

Police say scammers are getting highly sophisticated in the way they phrase unsolicited messages to their targets. These fraudsters often work in gangs and rely on social engineering and emotional blackmail to convince people to part with their money.

The scam, which has resurfaced after being around for a while, sees con artists sending messages pretending to be family relations of their target, reports. The messages usually have a note of urgency, claiming that they need help as their phone has been stolen or has broken.

In a Neighbourhood Watch message sent out this week, Hertfordshire Police said, scores of people have lost money in excess of £1000 each to this scam.

…victims have received messages claiming to be from their son/daughter or other family member saying they have lost or broken their phone, and the number they are texting from is their new number. They then requested financial help, asking for money to be sent urgently.
Getty/ B4LLS

Stay vigilant

The warning from the police suggests that if you should be wary of messages purportedly from a family member, friend or loved asking for money, especially if these missives are being sent from an unknown number.

The person may claim to have lost their phone, thus the need to borrow someone else’s. In this case, you should find means of reaching out to the family member or people who might be around them. Hertfordshire Constabulary said:

If someone claiming to be someone you know asks for money or personal information, it is best to pause and check that they are who they say – perhaps by speaking to them in person - before acting on their request.

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