Spotting scams

WhatsApp family and friends impersonation scams

What is a WhatsApp impersonation scam?

A WhatsApp family and friends impersonation scam is when a scammer pretends to be your friend or family member. The message will have a generic opening such as "Hello Mum" or "Hi Dad". They'll claim that they've lost their phone or their phone is damaged and that is why they're messaging from a different number. They'll then claim that they urgently need money to pay for a new phone or to pay a bill.

Tips on how to spot a WhatsApp impersonation scam

  • They'll message out of the blue from a number that you don’t recognise claiming to be a family member or friend. 
  • They'll always ask you to send them money.
  • The message will be very generic. They'll use "Hello Mum" to avoid using your name. Normally, there's no identifying information in the message e.g. something that only you and the real person would know, like a nickname.
  • The need for money will normally be urgent and they will try and rush or pressure you to send money.

Steps to protect yourself

  1. 01

    If you think you've received a WhatsApp impersonation message, call the number that has messaged you so you can confirm over the phone that they are who they say they are.

  2. 02

    You can report scam messages within WhatsApp. Press and hold on the message bubble, select ‘Report’ and then follow the instructions.

  3. 03

    If you're unsure whether a friend or family member is actually messaging you, you can alway refuse, reject, block or ignore the messages.

How to report fraud

If you think you may have been victim of atm fraud then we're here to help. 

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Identity theft is when a fraudster steals your personal information to impersonate you, open accounts, obtain credit or set up businesses.