A dad has revealed how he was nearly conned out of thousands by a very convincing WhatsApp scam.
Scientist Alan Baxter said he spotted the scam – and avoided being fleeced – because of punctuation mistakes.
‘Dad, I planned to make a payment today but as you can see I won’t be able to do that myself,’ the scammers wrote in a WhatsApp message.
‘Can you help? I’ll send you the details if it’s fine’
Posting the entirety of the interaction on Twitter, Mr Baxter showed how the scammers were trying to get him to pay $4,700 AUS (£2,691).
But he quickly clocked that it wasn’t his son sending the messages.
‘My son is an English teacher so the lack of grammar and full-stops alerted me,’ Mr Baxter told the Daily Mail.
He then says that he went on to check the authenticity of the scam with his bank, Australia’s ANZ.
‘I first contacted ANZ’s customer help line but I was told it (the scam) wasn’t related to the banks activities and there was nothing that they can do,’ he said.
‘I thought it was an opportunity for the bank to close or freeze the account and even investigate the funds it has received.’
Mr Baxter said that a customer service employee from the bank wouldn’t take the scammer’s details and hung up on him when he asked to speak to someone more senior.
‘It all raises the issue of what responsibility a bank facilitating fraud has in a situation like this.,’ Mr Baxter wrote on Twitter.
‘They clearly profit from the fraud, provide the resources to enable it, and refuse to act even when offered evidence.’
Apparently, the ANZ bank has now placed ‘restraints’ on the spammer’s account.
Last year, WhatsApp users were warned about the so-called ‘child in need’ scam that nearly conned Mr Baxter out of his funds.
‘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,’ said Policy Manager Kathryn Harnett.
‘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,’
If you do 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, according to WhatsApp.