Emerging Crime Trend Messenger App Identity Fraud

Police Scotland have received reports regarding criminals targeting victims via messaging and social media applications. Criminals contact their unsuspecting victims claiming to be a friend or family member who due to unforeseen circumstances, does not have access to their usual telephone number or Social Media account. Once the victim believes they are communicating with someone who they know, the perpetrator will ask for urgent financial support and thereafter provide a method of payment. Once payment has been made by the victim, the criminal may continue to ask for money and provide alternative payment methods. This pattern will continue until the victim becomes suspicious or has no money left to send. Please be suspicious if you receive communication from a friend or family member using a telephone number or Social Media account you do not recognise, especially if money is requested. Consider the following preventative measures:

  • Double check the identity of the individual contacting you by alternative means, by video call or meeting in person.

  • Ask lots of questions to confirm the identity of who you are communicating with.

  • If in doubt, don’t pay.

  • Contact your Bank immediately if you suspect you have been a victim of Fraud.

  • If you suspect you have been targeted by criminals or would like Crime Prevention guidance, please contact Police Scotland via ‘101’.

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