Lloyds Bank issues scam warning as Brits lose £1,600 to mobile phone scam | Personal finance | Finance

The bank is warning customers of a compelling WhatsApp scam that is costing Britons an average of £1,610. Criminals use the courier service to trick people into parting with their hard-earned money. Taking place on WhatsApp, the scam is being carried out by fraudsters claiming to be family members of their victims asking for help paying their bills, Lloyds Bank has warned.

It comes amid the cost of living crisis which has seen inflation drive up prices and energy bills hit new highs.

In January 2022, Lloyds reported that WhatsApp scams had increased by more than 2,000% in the space of a year.

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

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

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However, the number of reported HMRC fraud cases dropped by 85% in the first half of this year 2022.

This indicates that scammers are turning to different operations including impersonating someone’s family member on WhatsApp.

To help customers identify if they are being scammed on WhatsApp, Lloyds Bank has explained how these criminals will appear via message.

Fraudsters send the same initial message to different numbers at the same time. Once someone responds, they will claim to be a family member of the victim.

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This will usually insist that it is a son or daughter, who has lost their phone and needs a replacement.

The scammers will pretend they don’t have access to their internet or mobile bank account, so they need urgent help to pay their bills.

Liz Ziegler, director of fraud prevention at Lloyds Bank, explained how scammers have grown their operations on WhatsApp.

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

“Even if someone tells you they lost their phone, call the original number you saved to verify.

“Fraud is now the most common crime in the UK and banks cannot tackle it alone, so stopping scams must be a shared responsibility.

“It’s vital that government, law enforcement, big tech and social media companies all play their part in tackling the ruthless networks that are committing these crimes.”

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