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New WhatsApp scam warning as fraudsters pretend to be children Bath City News

Somerset Police are warning parents to be vigilant as a new WhatsApp scam is fooling people across the county. Agents say fraudsters are using WhatsApp to scam victims into transferring money pretending to be their child.

According to police, 75 people in Avon and Somerset reported financial losses totaling over £80,000 from the scam in 2022. A statement from Avon and Somerset police reads: ‘Generally the fraudster will send a message from a mobile number that the victim does not recognize and starts a conversation by saying something nonspecific, such as “Hi Mom” ​​or “Hi Dad”.

“They then claim that they lost their phone or it was damaged and are now using a different number. The victim, concerned for the welfare of their child, often responds by asking if the person at other end of the line is really their son or daughter and inadvertently tells the scammer the name of their child, who in turn text back to confirm that it is indeed them.

“The fraudster will then claim that there is an urgent emergency and they need funds – such as if they have a problem with their bank account and they urgently need to pay a bill – then they ask the victim to transfer money to another account for the one they would normally use.”

Jordan Coates, Head of Fraud Protection, said: “Recently we have seen a dramatic increase in reports related to this scam, where the fraudster claims to be a relative of the victim and claims to have lost or damaged their phone. or changed swipe number.One of the red flags that this may be a scam is the vague opening message in which the scammer does not specifically say who they are.They imply that they may be the victim’s son or daughter, but do not give a name.

“These fraudsters feed on a parent’s instinct to protect their child who may get into trouble, which is the most natural thing in the world. I recently spoke to a victim of this scam who told me he felt distraught and also angry with himself.

“He has since had problems accessing his own bank and the ripple effect has caused him enormous distress. In total this victim has lost almost £10,000 of his pension pot.”

Mr Coates added: ‘We urge anyone targeted by this scam to ensure they report it to Action Fraud, even if they acknowledge it is a scam and are not transferring any money.’

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This notice was published: 2022-03-10 00:01:00

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