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An elderly man has shared the story of his loss of Christmas money after fraudsters from WhatsApp robbed him and his family.

Unidentified 75-year-old claimed that they were tricked by cybercriminals pretending to be his granddaughter via the messaging system.

He transferred £1,550 to the con-artists, for an emergency medical bill that was a fake.

WhatsApp and traders standards officers have warned others about the fraud.

Fraudsters pretending to be the student wrote a letter to her father claiming she had haemorrhoids and that it was too embarrassing to discuss.

Several messages later suggested she required money for private health care. She asked to have the money transferred immediately.

Because her family was convinced it was real, her grandfather accepted to pay the bill.

It was impossible to reach her by phone as calls were routed to an answering machine.

After the money had been paid, they finally got in touch with her and discovered that they’d been duped.

Her grandfather stated, “You’re such a fool”. “I was mad that I could be fooled.

These scammers are becoming very clever. “I used to be a entrepreneur, and if they are able to fool me like I was, many very vulnerable people can fall for their scams.”

He tried to obtain the money back from his bank but they refused to refund him.

According to surveys, 59% had been subjected to a scam using a message.

According to some studies, scammers are more prevalent in the younger age group, which was more inclined to use text messaging than calling.

  • WhatsApp scammers continue to grow
  • Fraudsters steal £4m a day as crime surges

According to trading standards officials, scammers used messages to pretend they were from family or friends before asking for financial information or six-digit codes.

This code would be required when you create a new account or login to an existing one on a device.

This request may not have been initiated by you. It could also be fraudulent attempts to login to your accounts.

These messages come from compromised accounts or unknown numbers claiming to represent friends who have lost or locked their phones.

Louise Baxter of the National Trading Standards Scams Team stated that these types of scams “are particularly cruel because they prey upon our kindness and desire help family and friends.”

WhatsApp provides advice including:

  • You must stop. Give yourself five minutes to respond. For account security, ensure that your WhatsApp two-step verification switch is on
  • Consider. Consider whether the request is reasonable. Scammers take advantage of the generosity, trust, and willingness to assist people.
  • Give them a call. Call.

Kathryn Harnett is the policy manager for WhatsApp. She said: WhatsApp protects users’ private messages using end-to-end encryption. However, we want people to remember that everyone has a responsibility to keep their accounts secure by being vigilant against scammers.

Calling or asking for a voice message is the best way to confirm that someone you have received a suspicious email is true. “A friend in crisis is someone worth calling.”

The cost to all scam victims’ wellbeing has been estimated at a collective monetary total of £9.3bn a year, according to the consumer group Which?.


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