Islanders have lost £12,000 to a new WhatApp message scam featuring phony messages supposedly from family members asking for help.
Over the last week alone, Police have received eight separate reports from islanders who have received a scam WhatsApp message from a random number, which claims to be from a family member.
The message usually appears to come from a son or daughter, stating that their phone has been smashed or is broken and that the recipient will need to text them on this new number. Once the recipient replies, the conversation then turns to requests for money to help them.
The total losses from the past week's eight reports alone amount to around £12,000.
We've received several #scam reports about a text claiming to be a son or daughter, saying their phone is smashed & you need to contact them using their friend's number. Don't send any money when its requested, ignore the text & contact them on their normal number to double check pic.twitter.com/5rRUtuNvev— States of Jersey Police (@JerseyPolice) April 19, 2023
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.
It comes in the same week that the Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum reported that scams appeared to be on the rise, with islanders losing a record £600,000 in the past four months alone.
Among the key areas of concern were event ticketing scams, pet purchase scams and criminals offering fake cost-of-living support.
Investigating Officer Faith Shalamon, a Financial Investigator with the Joint Financial Crimes Unit, and Chief Inspector Chris Beechey, recently appeared on the Bailiwick Podcast to discuss the murky world of scammers, the impact they can have on everyday people, and just how challenging it can be to police this ever-evolving, truly global kind of crime... Listen below or by searching 'Bailiwick Podcasts' with your favourite podcast provider...
Islanders can find more information about how to gain protection from scams and frauds here, and a detailed breakdown of the losses is due to be delivered to all island households next week, in the JFPF's latest newsletter, which is issued twice a year to raise awareness of emerging scams and fraudulent activity.
Anyone who suspects that they have been the target of a scam should contact the Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 01534 612612.
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