AN Islander in her 80s has lost over £3,000 to a WhatsApp scam – with the perpetrator pretending to be her daughter in need.
Over the last month, Islanders have been targeted by a scammer who messages the victim on a random WhatsApp number pretending to be a son or daughter.
The message will usually state that their phone has been smashed or is broken and that they are in urgent need of money.
Once the recipient replies, the conversation then turns to requests for money to help them.
Since the beginning of this week, the States of Jersey Police’s Joint Financial Crimes Unit has received over 15 reports of such text messages and a collective loss of £9,500 in Jersey.
Last month, it was reported that Islanders had lost over £12,000 to these scams in eight recorded instances.
One Islander – an elderly woman in her 80s – was tricked into giving the scammer over £3,000.
Although the victim did not want to be named, she did provide the details of her conversation with the scammer.
In this instance, the scammer claimed they had an urgent bill due which they were unable to pay because their phone was broken.
Posing as the victim’s daughter, the scammer asked the elderly Islander to pay the bill on their behalf.
The scammer used the real name of the victim’s daughter in their introductory message, which they probably obtained by searching on social-media platforms such as Facebook.
The scammer continued to try to call and message the victim until the phone number was blocked.
Police are now urging anyone who receives one of the messages not to share any money or personal details. Instead, they should ignore the message and call the family member on their regular number to check.
Anyone who suspects that they have been the target of a scam should contact the Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum at email@example.com or on 01534 612612.