How to spot a WhatsApp impersonation scam
WhatsApp has become an irresistible place for fraudsters. We are seeing an increase in reports of scammers posing as family members and friends on WhatsApp. Sometimes this can also be a text or phone call, but they all have the common aim of encouraging the recipient to transfer money.
Here’s how this scam works:
- A fraudster pretending to be a family member, often a daughter or son, starts a believable conversation with the recipient.
- They will say they are messaging from a new number as their phone was lost or damaged.
- Typically, the ‘child’ is short of money or is late paying bills, and asks the recipient to transfer money into an account.
In some cases, the victim has been careful enough to check with the relative and has realised it’s a scam before parting with any money.
However, this isn’t always the case. For example in 2021, we saw a victim lose £6,000 after receiving one of these messages.
Examples of WhatsApp scam messages
Below are real-life examples of WhatsApp scam messages - note how the fraudster attempts to move the conversation on once the intended victim has responded.