Nurse Loses £2,400 After WhatsApp Scammer Pretends To Be Her Son
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A nurse lost over £2,400 ($3,300) after she was targeted by a scammer pretending to be her son.
Toni Parker, from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, was contacted on 9 July by someone claiming to be her son, who is currently serving in the RAF.
They told her they had dropped their phone down a toilet and had to get a new mobile and number.
The 53-year-old's 'son' then told her that he needed to borrow some money because he didn't have access to his account, which she agreed to, thinking nothing of it.
Little did she know, however, she had been conned out of £2,430, sending over two payments of £1,980 and £450.
Toni said: "I asked what it was for and I even asked why I couldn't send it to him directly and he said he had no internet banking because of his broken phone. They were very convincing.
"I love my kids and if they text me in need I will help them, who wouldn't help their own children?
"These scammers know this and I think they are purposely targeting mothers because it is our natural instinct to help."
It was only when she and husband Doug were travelling down to Cornwall for a long-awaited holiday later that morning that Toni explained what had happened and her younger son raised concerns that it was a scam.
When she checked her WhatsApp messages, Toni saw that they had disappeared, and contacted her bank.
But there was nothing they could do.
She said: "They told me I should have known it was a scam and they declined my refund.
"I do feel stupid, but due to his job, my son is hard to contact, so the messages didn't seem that odd.
"The bank asked why I didn't call my son to check, but you can't just call people in the RAF whenever you feel like it."
She said although the couple still went on holiday, it definitely affected their enjoyment.
Toni said: "I was in bits, I felt sick to my stomach, but our holiday was paid for and we would have lost that money too, so we decided to carry on.
"It may not be a lot of money to some people, but it is to us. I have worked so hard, especially during the pandemic, and we were saving for a new boiler and someone stole our savings in less than 10 minutes and got away with it so easily."
Warning others to be cautious, Toni added: "If anyone you know sends you a message and tells you it is their new number, ask them to tell you something they would know.
"Be sure you know who you are talking to because it could cost you thousands."
A spokesperson for Halifax said: "Helping keep our customers' money safe is our priority and we have a great deal of sympathy for Mrs Parker as the victim of a scam.
"We fully investigate each individual case and unfortunately, she did not take any steps to verify that the message she received from a number she didn't recognise was genuine.
"She went on to authorise the payments despite receiving a 'confirmation of payee' warning that the account details provided did not match.
"It's crucial for people to remember that fraudsters can easily pretend to be someone else to trick people into sending cash from their bank accounts.
"Treat any cold calls and messages with caution and take care when making payments, especially when checks say that details don't match."