A 75-year-old said that they had been tricked by criminals posing as his granddaughter and lost money saved for Christmas presents. The family was duped by fraudsters on the messaging service WhatsApp. However, the man wished to remain anonymous.
WhatsApp and trading standards officers are warning others of the scam. But the family already transferred £1,550 for an emergency medical bill which was a fake.
Fraudsters posing as young students sent a message to her father. The message mentioned that she had a case of hemorrhoids. It also mentioned that she was embarrassed to talk about it. The student needed money for private medical care and asked for the money to be transferred directly.
The grandfather agreed to pay the supposed bill when the fraudsters provided the correct spelling of her unusual name. They get through to the granddaughter only after the money was paid. Then they realized that they had been tricked.
The granddaughter said, “You feel such a fool. I was angry that I was able to be duped. You get used to these scam calls, but they are getting quite clever. I used to run my own business, so if they can fool people like me, a lot of very vulnerable people will be in trouble.”
The policy manager at WhatsApp Kathryn Harnett said, “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.”
Kathryn also said, “If you receive a suspicious message, even if you think you know who it is 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.”