Whatsapp "Mum and Dad scam" on the rise
Technology moves along so quickly, but scammers are always ready to stay one step ahead - and even for the savviest of us, it’s a constant battle to stay on your guard. But, for those who are more vulnerable, it’s so important that we protect them from fraudsters.
Do you know who you’re speaking to?
The latest scam doing the rounds is known as the “Mum and Dad scam”. Commonly carried out over Whatsapp, criminals target people by posing as the son or daughter of the victim and asking them to send money or pay for goods.
According to recent figures from Action Fraud, this type of crime is on the rise and has cost victims a total of £1.5 million between 3rd February and 21st June this year (source: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/alert/friendinneed).
Action Fraud is now warning everyone to be on their guard as cunning criminals can gain access to people's chat history to manipulate their victims and continue conversations already in process - eventually turning to a request for money.
The spread of the scam
Paula Boughton from Devon went to the press after falling victim to such a scam after she was contacted by someone claiming to be her daughter, Sam. Paula had received a message from someone she perceived to be her daughter, asking Paula to delete the old number she had for Sam, as she'd got a new phone and had been given a new number. She ended up being defrauded of £16,000 and her case is now being handled by the City of London Police.
Paula's case was quickly followed by Angela Briscoe, who appeared on TV after she was defrauded of almost £2,000 when contacted by someone she believed to be her son, Ed, who was travelling Mexico at the time.
Protect yourself and your loved ones
No one is safe from such a scam - but it’s particularly concerning if you have vulnerable family members. If you are an attorney, you also need to be vigilant against these kinds of crimes, especially if you are acting on behalf of a parent that may have lost mental capacity.
If you are worried about how this scam may affect a vulnerable loved one, a Lasting Power of Attorney could help.
Contact the Private Client team at Downs Solicitors for more information.