Lloyds issues scam warning as Britons lose £1,600 to mobile scam

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The bank is warning its customers about a convincing WhatsApp scam which is seeing Britons lose £1,610 on average. Criminals have been using the messaging service to trick people into parting with their hard-earned cash. Taking place on WhatsApp, the scam is carried out by fraudsters pretending to be family members of their victims who are asking for help in paying bills, Lloyds Bank has warned.

This comes amid the cost of living crisis which has seen inflation hike prices up and energy bills reach new heights.

In January 2022, Lloyds reported that scams carried out on WhatsApp surged by over 2,000 percent in the space of a year.

Recent data from the bank suggests that this is not slowing down anytime soon as the average victim is losing around £1,610.

In years past, fraudsters have also falsely pretended to be HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

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However, the number of reported HMRC scam cases has fallen by 85 percent in the first half of this 2022.

This indicates that scammers are moving to different operations which include pretending to be someone’s family member on WhatsApp.

To help customers identify if they are being scammed on WhatsApp, Lloyds Bank broke down how these criminals will appear over message.

Fraudsters send the same initial message to different numbers at the same time. After someone responds, they will pretend to be the victim’s family member.

This will usually insist they are a son or daughter, who has lost their phone and needs a replacement.

Scammers will claim not to have access to their internet or mobile banking account, and so they need urgent help to pay for bills.

Liz Ziegler, the Fraud Prevention director at Lloyds Bank, discussed how scammers have grown their operations over WhatsApp.

Ms Ziegler explained: “Fraudsters will stop at nothing to deceive victims and steal their hard-earned cash.

“The emergence of the WhatsApp scam over the last year shows just how quickly these ruthless organised crime gangs will adapt their tactics if they think they can make more money doing something different.”

The scam expert outlined what individuals can do to make sure they do not fall victim to these social media crimes in the future.

She added: “It’s important that people are aware of the warning signs and how to stay safe. Never trust a message from an unknown number.

“Even if someone tells you they’ve lost their phone, call the original number you have stored to check.

“Fraud is now the UK’s most common crime and banks can’t fight it alone, so stopping scams needs to be a shared responsibility.

“It is vital that Government, law enforcement, big tech and social media companies all play their part to tackle the ruthless networks perpetrating these crimes.”

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