WhatsApp group chats are targeted by fraudsters

WhatsApp group chat members are being warned they could be targeted by criminals, as Action Fraud reveals it has received 636 reports from victims of the messaging app this year.

The fraud often begins when a member of the group receives a WhatsApp audio call from the fraudster, pretending or claiming to be another member of the group. This is done to gain the individual’s trust, and often the scammer will use a false profile picture and/or display name, so at first glance it would appear to be a genuine member of the group.

The fraudster will tell the victim they are sending them a one-time passcode which will allow them to join an upcoming video call for group members. The criminal then asks the victim to share this passcode with them so they can be “registered” for the video call.

In reality, the criminal is asking for a registration code to register the victim’s WhatsApp account to a new device so they can take over their account.

Once the fraudster has access to the victim’s WhatsApp account, they will enable two-step verification which makes it impossible for the victim to regain access their account. Other members of the group, or friends and family in the victim’s contacts, will then be messaged asking them to transfer money urgently as they are in desperate need of help.

How to secure your WhatsApp account:
  • Set up two-step verification (2SV)to give an extra layer of protection to your account. Tap Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable.
  • CALL.If a family member or friend makes an unusual request on WhatsApp, always call the person outside of WhatsApp to confirm their identity.
  • Report spam messages or block a sender within WhatsApp.Press and hold on the message bubble, select ‘Report’ and then follow the instructions.

£6.7 million lost to Ticket Fraud in 2023

New data released today by Action Fraud reveals £6.7 million was lost to ticket fraud last year. https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ticketfraud

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting service, has launched a ticket fraud awareness campaign, warning people to be alert to fraudsters trying to catch out people planning for popular and sold-out events. Last year more than 8,700 people reported they had been a victim ticket fraud, with a total of £6.7 million lost. This works out to an average loss of £772 per victim.

How to protect yourself from ticket fraud:
  • Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, the promoter, an official agent or a well-known and reputable ticket exchange site.
  • Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal give you a better chance of recovering the money if you become a victim of fraud.
  • The password you use for your email account, as well as any other accounts you use to purchase tickets, should be different from all your other passwords. Use three random words to create a strong and memorable password, and enable 2-step verification (2SV).
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails, texts or adverts offering unbelievably good deals on tickets.
  • Is the vendor a member of Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR)? If they are, the company has signed up to their strict governing standards. STAR also offers an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service to help customers with outstanding complaints. For more information visit star.org.uk/buy_safe.
Report ticket fraud

If you feel at all suspicious, report the email to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at report@phishing.gov.uk. For more advice on how to stay secure online, please visit cyberaware.gov.uk.

Find out how to protect yourself from fraud: https://stopthinkfraud.campaign.gov.uk

If you live in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Residential Burglary 

We are reminding residents to keep windows and doors locked when their property is unoccupied. It is important to remove any items from gardens or open spaces which could be used to gain entry to property, all too often ladders are left unattended.

Find more information on securing your home here https://www.sussex.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/protect-home-crime/

For more information on keeping your sheds and garages secure, please visit https://www.sussex.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/protect-home-crime/secure-shed-garage/

Vehicle Crime

Vehicle owners are reminded to not leave valuables in their vehicles overnight and to not leave personal belongings on show in cars. Please ensure vehicles are locked when vacant.

If the vehicles are alarmed, please ensure they work and if you have CCTV, Ring doorbell footage of any thefts or witness any suspicious activity around vehicles in your area, please let us know.

For more information on how to prevent thieves targeting your vehicle, visit https://www.sussex.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/keeping-vehicles-safe/vehicle-safe-and-sound/

If you have information about any crime call 101, email: 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

If you see crime taking place call 999.