WhatsApp scam: Dorset Police issue warning to residents | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams

A WARNING has been issued over a WhatsApp messenger scam in which recipients are urged to transfer money to someone purporting to be a family member in need of urgent help.

Dorset Police said it has received an “increasing” number of reports over the scam and is urging people to be aware of it.

The message comes from an unknown number and states ‘their phone is broken’, ‘dropped down the loo’, ‘microphone doesn’t work’ or something similar and they cannot access their online banking.

The recipient is asked to urgently transfer money to another bank account to pay a bill, fine or similar.

After the victim transfers money to the bank account details provided by the scammer, they receive another message requesting another bill is paid, then another.

Police said if money has been paid, then people should contact their bank immediately.

Dorset Police said this is a ‘push payment fraud’, where the victim has authorised the payment to another party. It is up to the bank whether the payment can be recovered.

Investigations Officer Martin Forder, of Dorset Police, said: “We would like to make the public aware of this scam and encourage anyone who has been a victim of a similar incident to please report it to Dorset Police and Action Fraud.

“If you receive this type of message, please check the authenticity of it – make a call to that family member on a number you know to be theirs, or alternatively go and visit them if this is practical. If you are in any doubt, do not engage with these messages or send any money.

“We would ask people to look out for family members or neighbours and make sure they are aware of this potential scam.”

Anyone who believes they have been targeted by scammers is asked to report it to Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk/contact or by calling 101.

Also report it to Action Fraud at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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