A text or WhatsApp message from a “friend in need” asking for money or personal information could be a scammer, a new awareness campaign has warned.

More than half (59%) of people have received a message-based scam in the last year or know someone who has, according to a new awareness drive launched by WhatsApp in partnership with National Trading Standards.

The “Stop. Think. Call.” campaign aims to help educate people on how to protect themselves and their WhatsApp account from message-based scams.

Message-based scams could include text messages as well as those received on WhatsApp.

The campaign urges people to:

– Stop: Take time before you respond. Make sure your WhatsApp two-step verification is switched on to protect your account, that you are happy with your privacy settings.

– Think: Does this request make sense? Are they asking for money? Remember that scammers prey on people’s kindness, trust and willingness to help.

– Call: Verify that it really is your friend or family member by calling them directly, or asking them to share a voice note. Only when you are 100% sure the request is from someone you know and trust, should you consider it. If it turns out to be untrue, report it to Action Fraud.

Louise Baxter, head of the National Trading Standards scams team and Friends Against Scams, said reports of “friend-in-need” scams have been growing in recent months.

She said:…

Read more…