In a social media post, police warned the public about the scam, writing: “We’ve had reports in Edinburgh of people receiving a WhatsApp message from a random number claiming to be their son or daughter who has lost their phone”.
"Once parents are convinced they are speaking to their child, scammers ask them to send money to cover an imminent payment due to come out of their account”.
They also advised the public to take three steps before making a payment after receiving a request for money over Whatsapp.
The first thing they recommended people to do was “STOP - Take Five before you respond”.They then advised people to “THINK - Does this request make sense?Lastly, they asked the public to “CALL - Verify that it is your friend or family, by calling them directly”.
Recent research from WhatsApp found that 59% of Brits say either they or someone they know have received a message-based scam in the last year. Scams are most common via SMS text message (46%) and WhatsApp (13%).
Out of those who were targeted by message-based scams, 17% chose to ignore the message, 4% replied to the message via the same messaging service, 3% called them for clarification and 2% made the payment.
Whatsapp advise users to set up two-step verification to protect their account. They also recommend that users never share their account’s activation code and make their profile picture visible to contacts only.
For more information about scams, visit friendsagainstscams.org.uk/stopthinkcall.