Police warn of rising WhatsApp scams that can drain your bank account in seconds – don’t get caught

Police urge parents to be more careful when receiving WhatsApp messages from unknown numbers.

Coppers on Thursday said there was a steady increase in reports related to the “Mum and Dad WhatsApp Scam”.

Parents could be at greater risk from this type of scam when children go to college


Parents could be at greater risk from this type of scam when children go to collegeCredit: Alamy

Cyber ​​criminals’ devious scheme wipes victims’ bank accounts by pretending to be friends or family members.

They ask for a bank transfer for something urgent, e.g. B. an unpaid bill, and then back once the money has been sent.

Thousands of scams have been reported in recent months and police are encouraging Brits to be vigilant.

Ken Police tweeted Wednesday: “Mum & Dad scams have increased across the country.

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“Never assume or believe that a message asking for money is real and confirm this by calling the person on a number you know.”

You should make sure your parents know about the program. If tricked, they could lose thousands.

What parents should know about the WhatsApp scam

The warning echoes comments from a scam expert this week, who discussed how to avoid getting caught by the scam.

Chris Ainsley, head of fraud risk management at Santander UK, said these scams have appeared on WhatsApp and other messaging forms such as texting to mobile phones.

“We’ve seen a significant spate of fake WhatsApp messages claiming to be from people’s children,” he said.

“It’s still going on. It has resumed in the last month, where we see it not only through WhatsApp, but also through “traditional” SMS or text messages.

“Someone will just text you saying ‘hello dad’ or ‘hello mom’ but then they just try to get the person to send them a few thousand pounds in some cases.”

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting agency, said that between February 3 and June 21, scams involving criminals pretending to be friends or family members were reported on WhatsApp 1,235 times.

And those are just the ones they’ve been told about – a lot of people don’t know that. These scams are costing users a whopping £1.5million.

Scammers also try more complex schemes.

For example, there have been cases where scammers have attempted to trick people into first transferring money to other friends and family members’ accounts, before then forwarding the money to the scammer.

If the money flows through multiple accounts in this way, it could become more difficult for banks to track the money.

Red flags to watch out for WhatsApp scams

The scammer first contacts someone with a “Hi Mom” ​​or “Hi Dad” message that appears to be from their child.

They then try to convince the recipient that their account has been compromised and they need to wire cash to a friend or family member to keep their money “safe.”

The victim is given the details of an account controlled by the scammer or a money courier and is encouraged to ask their friend or family member to transfer the money to the other account.

Once the money has been transferred to the new account, the scammer can cut off all contact and the victim will no longer have access to their money.

“Certainly it’s an indicator of how agile criminals can be,” Chris said.

Parents should pay attention this fall

As students head to college this fall, parents could be at greater risk of receiving fake money claims from scammers posing as their children.

“It might be more common this time of year for someone to fall for it,” Chris said.

“Sure, I think the time frame we really started last year was around October, November.”

But he added that some parents of adults older than university age have also been targeted.

People who receive strange messages out of the blue should remember the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, which urges people to stop and take time to think before sharing personal information or money.

There are many other identity scams out there

There are many scams out there, so you should always be on the lookout for someone contacting you out of the blue.

One type of fraud to avoid is known as identity fraud.

Here, scammers pretend to be from a well-known company or service provider such as banks, delivery companies or Amazon.

People might even pretend to be the police.

An estimated £2billion was lost to fraud last year and this type of fraud accounts for a quarter of all cases.

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Chris Barrese

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