Published 17th July 2023
It is sad but true that during the very difficult cost of living crisis we are facing, scams are still on the rise. TSB warned last week that WhatsApp scams have risen by over 300%.
Often a scammer will message saying ‘hi mum’ or ‘hi dad’ and then proceed to say that they’ve lost their phone and this is their new number and that they need money for their new phone. By making people think they are talking to their own children, scammers are tricking innocent parents and grandparents into giving away money to scammers.
AGE UK are also warning about the increase in scams that appear to be from ‘well- known sources’ such as the NHS, HMRC or Amazon. The scammers try to get people to input personal information to take their money.
I was extremely concerned when I heard reports of people being scammed out of large sums of money, this is particularly distressing at a time when many are finding it difficult to pay the bills.
That is why I wanted to highlight the STOP, THINK and CALL campaign set up by Stop Scams UK. If you receive a message asking for money, try the below before sending it.
STOP: Take Five before you respond. Make sure your WhatsApp two-step verification is switched on to protect your account; that you’re happy with your privacy settings, and your six-digit pin is secure.
THINK: Does this request make sense? Are they asking you to share a PIN code which has been sent to you? Are they asking for money? Remember that scammers prey on people’s kindness, trust and willingness to help. Taking over your account could enable them to deceive others on your contact list.
CALL: Verify that it really is your friend or family member by calling them directly or asking them to share a voice note. Only when you’re 100% sure the request is from someone you know and trust, should you consider it.
I know for many families every penny counts at the moment and many are seeing their family members suffer. That is why this new WhatsApp scam can be so dangerous.
If you think a scammer has got hold of your bank details, contact your bank straight away.
You can call the 159 hotline, which will connect you to your bank.
Passwords that have been leaked or compromised should be changed immediately.
Make sure you report scams and fraud to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or through the Action Fraud website.