Grandad loses £24,000 after sending money to fake ‘son’ in cruel WhatsApp scam

A devastated grandad has fallen victim to a clever WhatsApp scam which saw criminals pose as his son—and fleeced him out of thousands of pounds,

77-year-old Nigel Gammon from Australia said he lost more than £24,000 in the scam after receiving convincing messages from a fake account pretending to be his son in need.

Nigel, who relies on WhatsApp to stay in touch with his son Jock who lives overseas, said he got a text that seemed 'completely legitimate' asking for money for an emergency bill.

The scam text read: "Hiii dad. My other phone crashed, but this is my temporary number… I have a payment that must be paid today. Can you send me a picture from the front and back of your credit card."

Nigel lost more than $42,000 AUD (£24,000) after his credit card information was stolen, and says he was in shock.

Nigel told 9News: "I'm very upset about the whole incident, I think my son particularly feels guilty.

"It was one o'clock in the morning over there and I just didn't want to ring him up, which I should have."

He added: "The worst part was when they closed it off they put a heart as a closure."

Nigel says only £8000 has been recovered so far.

  • WhatsApp users warned to change key privacy setting today to protect their texts

Parents have been warned about the growing scam, which sees criminals impersonate their children asking for money.

In the UK, scammers have sent messages starting with "hello mum", before saying: "I have a little problem I need to solve… can you help me with it?"

WhatsApp has advised that people should never share their WhatsApp pin code with anyone, and enable two-step verification where possible.

WhatsApp Policy Manager Kathryn Harnett told Which?: "[If] you receive a suspicious message (even if you think you know who it’s from), calling or requesting a voice note is the fastest and simplest way to check someone is who they say they are."

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