WhatsApp Users Warned of Scammers Posing as Family Members

Fraudsters are posing as family members on WhatsApp to scam victims out of money, with one woman losing £16,000. Authorities warn users to be vigilant and verify identities through phone calls or voice notes to avoid falling prey to the "mum and dad" scam.

Trim Correspondents
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WhatsApp Users Warned of Scammers Posing as Family Members

WhatsApp Users Warned of Scammers Posing as Family Members

El Nacional has issued a warning to WhatsApp users about a scam where fraudsters pose as family members to convince victims to transfer funds. The scam, known as the "mum and dad scam," has seen one woman conned out of £16,000.

Why this matters: This scam highlights the importance of cybersecurity awareness and the need for individuals to take proactive steps to protect themselves from online fraud. As technology continues to evolve, scams like these will become increasingly sophisticated, making it essential for users to stay vigilant and informed to avoid falling prey.

Scammers contact victims by random phone numbers, claiming to be a son, daughter, or other family member or friend who suddenly has a new number. They then try to convince the victim to send money to various accounts or pay for goods. In some cases, fraudsters gain access to people's chat history to manipulate their victims and continue conversations in progress, cunningly manipulating the course of the conversation into a request for money.

Paula Boughton from Paignton, Devon, fell victim to the scam after being contacted by someone claiming to be her daughter Sam. She believed she was making payments on behalf of her daughter after exchanging personal and genuine messages. In total, she paid around £16,000 to a person she believed to be her daughter.

Police have issued a warning over the tech fraud, saying they have seen an increase in reports of the scam and urging people to remind their friends and family to remain vigilant.

WhatsApp's policy manager, Kathryn Harnett, said:"WhatsApp protects our users' personal messages with end-to-end encryption, but we want to remind people that we all have a role to play in keeping our accounts safe by remaining vigilant to the threat of scammers. We advise all users never to share their six-digit PIN code with others, not even friends or family, and recommend that all users set up two-step verification for added security. And if you receive a suspicious message, even if you think you know who it's from, calling or requesting a voice note is the fastest and simplest way to check someone is who they say they are."

To avoid falling victim to this scam, experts recommend: If a close friend or family member asks for money, give them a phone call on their original phone number just to double-check they are telling the truth. Don't ever give out security codes for any accounts to anyone. Alternatively, ask them to send avoice noteto verify who they are. If in doubt, don't send the money.

This latest WhatsApp scam serves as a stark reminder for users to remain vigilant and cautious when communicating on the platform, even with those who appear to be trusted contacts. By following the prevention tips and heeding the warnings from authorities, WhatsApp users can better protect themselves from falling prey to these manipulative fraudsters.

Key Takeaways

  • Scammers pose as family members on WhatsApp to trick victims into transferring funds.
  • Vigilance is key: verify identities with a phone call or voice note before sending money.
  • Never share security codes or PINs with anyone, even friends or family.
  • Be cautious of sudden requests for money from "family members" with new numbers.
  • Enable two-step verification and set up end-to-end encryption for added security.