A devastated grandfather has been the victim of a clever WhatsApp scam that saw criminals impersonating his son and cheating him out of thousands of pounds,
Nigel Gammon, 77, from Australia, said he lost more than £24,000 in the scam after receiving convincing messages from a fake account claiming to be his needy son.
Nigel, who relies on WhatsApp to keep in touch with his son Jock who lives abroad, said he received a text message which seemed “completely legitimate” asking for money for an emergency bill.
The scam text read: “Hiii dad. My other phone broke but this is my temporary number…I have a payment due today. Can you send me a photo of the front and back of your credit card.”
Nigel lost over $42,000 AUD (£24,000) after his credit card details were stolen and says he was in shock.
Nigel told 9News: “I’m very upset about this whole incident, I think my son feels particularly guilty.
“It was one in the morning there and I just didn’t want to call him, which I should have.”
He added: “The worst thing is that when they closed it, they put a heart as a closure.”
Nigel says only £8,000 has been recovered so far.
Parents have been warned about the growing scam, which sees criminals posing as their children asking for money.
In the UK, scammers sent messages starting with “hello mum”, before saying: “I have a little problem to solve… can you help me?”
WhatsApp has advised users never to share their WhatsApp PIN with anyone and to enable two-step verification whenever possible.
WhatsApp policy manager Kathryn Harnett told Which? : “[If] you receive a suspicious message (even if you think you know who it’s from), calling or requesting a voice note is the quickest and easiest way to verify that someone is who they say they are.”