WhatsApp scam involving ‘fake family members’ sweeps Northern Ireland, PSNI warns | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams

The PSNI are urging people to be cautious following a recent wave of scams that involve texts or WhatsApp messages from an unknown number claiming to be a family member and encouraging the recipient to transfer money.

olice received 11 reports of the scam from across Northern Ireland on October 13.

“In each case, a person purporting to be a family member, often a daughter or son, asks for money,” said Superintendent Gerard Pollock.

“Typically, the ‘child’ is short of money or late paying bills, and makes an ask for the recipient to transfer money into an account. This is backed by a story that he or she has recently changed their phone or phone number.

“It’s a despicable act, which takes advantage of a person’s willingness to help out loved ones who are perhaps away from home.

“In some of these cases the victim has been prudent enough to check with the relative and therefore realise it’s a scam before departing with any money,” the officer continues.

“Sadly, however, this isn’t always the case. Fraudsters will use any means possible to trick people. While scams may come in all shapes and sizes, they have one thing in common – scammers rely upon the good faith and vulnerability of those they target. Hard-earned savings can easily be gone in a flash and, with it, one’s confidence.

“Please don’t get caught out. If you get a message of this nature, please take time to make contact, by a reliable means, with your loved one. So don’t enter into a dialogue using the same text or WhatsApp trail.”

For further advice and information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni.

If you have any concerns about unsolicited calls, emails or letters, report it to Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040. You can also call police on the non-emergency number 101.

If you feel unsure about an email you have received, you can forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Services at report@phishing.gov.uk

If you have come across a website which you think is fake, you can report it on NCSC.GOV.UK and you can report suspicious text messages for free to 7726.

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