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10 Aug 2018
Sharp increase in WhatsApp scams 

Fraud Help Desk is increasingly receiving reports about scam (attempts) through WhatsApp involving a ‘family member’ asking for money. The number of reports has already quadrupled on last year’s figures. The total damage has run up to 100,000 euros. 

In these WhatsApp scams, the victim typically receives a message from a relative asking them to advance money. The request often comes from someone pretending to be an adult son or daughter. They urgently need money and promise to pay it back quickly.

These con artists prepare their scams thoroughly. First they send a message to their victims to let them know that they have a ‘new phone number’. The message has the profile image of the person whose identity they have hijacked.

The scammers have taken this photo from social media, where they have also found information about family relationships and how people address each other. They cleverly avoid any contact by telephone and know how to get around critical questions. On average, victims reported losses of more than 2,000 euros.

Related story: Request for help through WhatsApp is a scam.