A man narrowly avoided a £900 WhatsApp scam after asking one clever question.
Michael Griffiths found himself close to handing over the large sum of money after a scammer posing as his stepdaughter messaged him asking for cash.
After some back and forth, Michael’s gut told him to ask the scammer a genius question, resulting in the stranger ghosting him.
Michael now wants to raise awareness to others to ensure they don’t fall for the same tricks.
The fraudster began by posing as Sophie, Michael’s stepdaughter, saying she’d lost her phone and was ‘using an old number for now’.
Much to Michael's surprise, the chat swiftly moved onto money.
The scammer said: “I want to ask a favour, I’m trying to get my banking app on this old phone but it doesn’t work and stressing a bit because I have a bill to pay.”
After Michael replies asking for the details, the scammer is more than eager for him to hand over £900 immediately.
Despite the scammer’s urgency, Michael asks whether his stepdaughter’s mum should ring the lost phone to try and locate it.
The scammer quickly shoots this down, claiming ‘the battery is dead’ and ‘the phone is really old, can’t ring with it’.
In a setback for the fraudster, Michael explains he is only able to transfer £400 at a time due to a limit set by his bank.
As his suspicions grow, Michael continues the chat by saying the family do not have £989 in the bank, and asks ‘Sophie’ to call him.
The pressure is clearly mounting on the scammer, who says: “How much can you transfer at the moment?
“It has to be paid within 30 minutes. We can’t be late can you transfer it.”
After this desperate last attempt, Michael replied simply asking: “What’s your middle name Soph?”
The scammer attempts to salvage the situation asking ‘why’, before Michael adds: “So I know it’s you Soph.”
Inevitably, the scammer swiftly stopped replying.
Michael’s stepson, Jordan Parker, 28, posted the conversation on social media to warn others of the scam.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, he said: “I just think it's shocking that someone would message a random number and send the same template.
"When I was reading it with Mike, I thought it was my sister and then we found out it was a scam, I just thought that's definitely going to get someone.
"He could have sent through that £900 until he realised he didn't have that amount of money in his account, if that scammer said can we have £300 he would have done it straight away without even thinking."