75-year-old man loses £ 1,550 worth of Christmas savings after being targeted by WhatsApp scammers

A grandfather saw all of his Christmas savings stolen after he fell victim to vicious WhatsApp scammers.

The 75-year-old had saved £ 1,550 to spend on Christmas presents before having his money confiscated by a ‘friend in need’ scam.

The crooks have impersonated the gentleman’s granddaughter – even spelling her unusual name correctly to maintain the wrong trick, reports The Mirror.

The man tried to call his granddaughter directly, but the call went directly to voicemail.

Following reassuring messages from the “granddaughter” asking for help paying for a private medical procedure, the money was transferred to the criminal’s account.

It was only after the money changed hands that the grandfather managed to get his hands on his granddaughter and figure out what really happened.

He said, “You feel so stupid. I was angry that I could have been duped.

“You get used to these scam calls, but they get pretty smart. I used to run my own business, so if they can cheat on people like me, a lot of very vulnerable people will be in trouble.”

Now he wants his bank to pay him back, but they refuse, saying they did everything right.

Trade standards staff are warning consumers of fraud, the BBC reports.

How the scam works

Almost two-thirds of us (59%) have had a scammer who tried to defraud them using a message in the past year.

The scam works by scammers sending messages that appear to be from someone the victim knows.

Often, these then ask for money, information or a six-digit code.

Messages are sent from hacked accounts to people in their contact log, or from an unknown number masquerading as a real friend or loved one who has a new number.

Louise Baxter, National Trading Standards Scam Team, said: “We have seen an increasing number of reports of ‘friends in need’ scams over the past few months.

“Scammers send messages that appear to be from a friend or family member asking for personal information, money, or a six-digit PIN.

“Messages are sent from your friends’ compromised accounts, so they appear to be from someone you know or an unknown number claiming to be a friend who has lost their phone or been ‘blocked’ from their Account.

These types of scams are especially cruel because they prey on our kindness and our desire to help our friends and family.

WhatsApp Policy Officer Kathryn Harnett said, “WhatsApp protects our users’ personal messages with end-to-end encryption, but we want to remind people that we all have a role to play in protecting our accounts by staying vigilant against the threat of crooks. .

“We advise all users to never share their six-digit PIN code with others, not even friends or family, and recommend that all users set up two-step verification for added security.”

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