10 July 2023
Scam alert - Beware of scammers pretending to be a relative asking for help
Beware of text or WhatsApp messages appearing to be from a relative, in most cases a son or daughter, asking for help because they lost or broke their phone. It is likely to be a scam.
The messages often begin with ‘Hi Mum’ and could provide several different reasons why they are using a different phone number.
These scams are designed to trick you into handing over money or financial information to a fraudster. If you respond to these messages, the fraudster will eventually request help for some kind of emergency, such as needing a new phone or paying an urgent bill.
If you get a message like this:
1. Contact your child or relative through an alternative communication channel such as a phone call, video chat, or another messaging platform on a number that you always use for them.
2. Confirm their safety and ask if they indeed lost their phone. It is essential to have direct confirmation from your child before proceeding with any assistance.
3. Take your time and do not be rushed, fraudsters are using your emotions to make you fall victim.
4. Report the account immediately to WhatsApp and An Garda Siochana.
5. Block the suspicious account to prevent further attempts at communication.