There have been a significant number of reports of Scammers pretending to be a family member or friend on WhatsApp.
This was highlighted earlier this month and the warning is repeated here again this week.
The basic method they use is as follows:
• The suspect will send the victim a message via WhatsApp claiming to be their son/daughter/friend and that they have had to change their number, having lost or damaged their phone
• The Scammer will then say they are now using a new phone number
• As a result of this, the Scammers will claim they are getting in touch in order to borrow money to purchase the new device or pay off a debt.
• After this, the Scammer will give their bank details so a payment can be made to them, with some coming back with further demands for money.
Analysis of reports to Action Fraud by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has identified a dramatic increase in Advance Fee Lottery Frauds over the last six months.
Over £925,000 was lost by victims during that period. Victims reported losing an average loss of just over £1,500.
70% of victims reported to be aged 50 or over.
Fraudsters will contact the victim in the following way or similar:
• Lottery fraud occurs when criminals use fake messages and calls to convince a person that they have won a lottery or a prize draw
• The victim is then informed that they will need to pay an advance “fee” in order to receive the winnings
• Victims are commonly asked to pay these advance fees by purchasing gift cards, and relaying codes to the Fraudster.
• In some instances, victims have reported being asked for personal and financial information in order to obtain their “winnings”. Some victims reported providing their bank details thinking they would be sent a small payment to verify the account. In reality, criminals use these details to steal the victim’s money.
IF YOU THINK YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED OR DO NOT RECOGNISE THE CONTACT
• Stop – Taking a moment to stop and think can keep you and your money safe.
• Challenge – Keep your money and information safe from criminals by only purchasing items from authorised sellers and doing your research fully before making a purchase.
• Protect – if you think you’ve fallen for a scam contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.