‘Disgraceful’ WhatsApp scammers posing as needy family members | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams

A daughter has slammed online scammers after they tried to get £2,000 from her mum.

Emma Neary, from Norris Green, told the ECHO it was “disgraceful” that scammers would try and “prey on the love people have for their families” by posing as family members on WhatsApp.

Ms Neary’s 68-year-old mum almost fell victim to the scam after she received a message from someone posing as Emma with a new number.

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Ms Neary’s mum only realised the messages could be a scam after she was asked to send £2,441,89 to the number for unpaid invoices.

Ms Neary, 41, posted the exchange online to help raise awareness to the way the scammers were posing as family members.

In the WhatsApp messages seen by the ECHO, the scammer said: “Hi mum, this is my new phone number.”

After being confronted about who they were, they posed as the mum’s “oldest daughter” before saying they were messaging off a new number because their phone fell in the sink.

They then said: “I just checked my email and saw that I have invoices that have to be paid today. I can’t access my mobile banking now. Can I send the invoices to you and you can pay it for me. I will pay back tomorrow.”

Emma Neary’s mum only knew it was a scam when they asked her for so much money

Ms Neary’s mum only realised it was a scam when she called Emma to double check.

Ms Neary told the ECHO : “My mum rang me and said have you changed your number because if not, someone’s trying to scam me.

“I asked had they used my name and when she said no I asked to see the screenshots.

“When I read them I was furious because I’d seen something like it a couple of weeks ago. I never knew how many were affected by it until I posted the screenshots online.

“So many people have commented saying it’s happened to them so I put the conversation online to warn people about it.

“Until they said how much they wanted, my mum actually believed it was me. She didn’t understand how else someone would have her number.

“The conversation is quite generic and vague, but it’s personal enough for people to buy it, especially the older generation who aren’t as savvy.

“But my mum knew I’d never ask her for nearly £2,500, so as soon as she saw that, she knew something was wrong.”

Ms Neary added the scammers were preying on people’s good nature to always help their families.

She said: “She obviously knows I’ve got three kids and if I needed help she would do what she can to help me, so she’s gone straight into survival mode and asked me what I need.

“If you believe that is your son or daughter, your guard is down straightaway, but people have to know to keep their guard up.

“That’s exactly what they’re preying on though. They’re literally preying on people’s love for their own families which is absolutely disgraceful.

“I think it’s one of the worst possible ways to scam somebody.”

Ms Neary said since she posted the screenshots online as a warning, she’s been shocked by how many people have said they’ve been targeted by scammers.

She said: “I was shocked by the amount of people who commented who I actually know saying that happened to them or someone they knew.

“That scared me more than anything. I’m glad I posted it, because no one talks about it and brushes it under the carpet.”

Ms Neary added to always double check who is messaging you by speaking to them on the phone or in person.

She said: “My advice would be if you get anything suspicious from a number you don’t know, speak to the person who they are claiming to be on the number you have.”

The ECHO previously reported on a similar situation where a 71-year-old woman from Southport was almost scammed out of £2,000.

The scammer used almost identical language as they posed as the woman’s oldest daughter.

The ECHO and the Mirror also reported on a man who lost almost £7,000 to a scammer who posed as his daughter.

A joint campaign between WhatsApp and the National Trading Standards’ Friends Against Scams found almost three fifths of Brits say they have received a message-based scam in the last year – or know someone who has.

Kathryn Harnett, policy manager at WhatsApp, said: “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.

“A friend in need is a friend worth calling.”

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