CNP

National Police in Spain warn of a new WhatsApp scam, and this is how it works

The criminals pretend to be their children and ask the mothers to send money urgently and say they’re not using their normal phone because it isn't working properly

ÁLVARO FRÍAS / JUAN CANO Malaga

“Can you do me a favour? I need to pay for something and I haven’t got my card with me. Can you send me a transfer?” It sounds like a normal sort of message that someone might send to their mother when they need help urgently, but it isn’t. It’s a new scam committed via WhatsApp, in which criminals pretend to be a family member, and in some cases they have got away with very large sums of money.

So far, say the police, the criminals have contacted women and pretended to be their children. They explain that they’re not using their normal phone because it isn’t working properly, and ask for money, saying it is urgent.

Transfers

Thinking their children are in trouble, many women have responded immediately by making the transfers as requested. It is only when they speak to their son or daughter later that they realise the money hasn’t gone to them, and by then it is too late to cancel the transfer.

The police say they have uncovered several scams of this type all over Spain in recent weeks, and the criminals have got away with money ranging from 2,000 to 26,000 euros. They recommend that if anyone receives a message of this type they should stay calm and should not make any payment unless they can be absolutely sure that the person who is asking for it really is a family member.