‘Friend in need’ WhatsApp scam costs victims £1.5million

'Friend in need' WhatsApp scam costs victims £1.5million 2
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‘Friend in need’ WhatsApp scam costs victims £1.5million after being reported 1,235 times between February and June

  • Friend in need crime has been reported 1,235 times between February and June 
  • The fraudsters typically message on WhatsApp claiming to be a family member 
  • They explain they are messaging from a different number as their phone was lost or damaged 
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A scam where fraudsters send text messages posing as a friend or family member in need of money has cost victims over £1.5million this year, it has been revealed.

The ‘friend in need’ crime has been reported 1,235 times between February and June this year, said Action Fraud.

The fraudsters typically message on WhatsApp claiming to be a family member and begin the conversation by addressing the person informally, such as ‘hello mum’. They then explain they are messaging from a different number as their phone was lost or damaged.

The ¿friend in need¿ crime has been reported 1,235 times between February and June this year, said Action Fraud

The ‘friend in need’ crime has been reported 1,235 times between February and June this year, said Action Fraud

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Next they ask for money to purchase a new phone, or claim that they need money urgently to pay a bill.

The scammer will provide their bank details – and sometimes trick the victim multiple times before they realise.

The shocking cost of this crime shows the continued threat posed by text and WhatsApp scams. Detective Chief Inspector Craig Mullish, from the City of London Police, said: ‘If you receive a message like this from a friend or family member, don’t send any money until you’ve had a chance to call them and confirm their identity.’

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