Message scam: West Yorkshire residents warned as fraudsters pose as their children to steal cash

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People in West Yorkshire are being warned of scammers claiming to be their children to con them out of money.

West Yorkshire Police’s fraud investigators are urging residents to be aware after a recent rise in reports of the scam - known as the ‘mum and dad fraud’ - which sees victims receiving WhatsApp or text messages from someone falsely claiming to be their sons or daughters.

The message usually suggests they have changed mobile phone number due to an emergency or similar and are in need of some cash.

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Detective Insp James Humphreys said: “This is a particularly cruel deception which makes concerned parents believe their son or daughter is in financial difficulties and needs their help.

Police are urging people to be aware of the scamPolice are urging people to be aware of the scam
Police are urging people to be aware of the scam

“Ourselves and colleagues nationally are working hard to get the message out and would ask residents to please make sure details of this type of fraud are shared with your families to prevent anyone falling victim.”

There have been reports of people receiving messages from fraudsters pretending to be their child and saying they have changed their number, their phone is damaged or they have lost their phone to explain why they are contacting them on a different number than usual.

The fraudster will then claim they are in trouble and need help to pay a bill or to pay someone they owe money to, and ask for various amounts up to around £3,000.

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The payment is made on the promise the money will be returned. But the money is paid into a criminal’s bank account.

Once the money has been transferred, it can be extremely difficult to trace and get back.

“If you receive or suspect you have received a scam message like this, try contacting your loved ones through a trusted method such as their usual phone number so that you can confirm the request is genuine or not,” said DI Humphreys.

“Speak to them over the phone rather than trusting that the person at the end of the text message is who they claim to be.”

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If you believe you have been a victim of this fraud, you can report it to Action Fraud - the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre by calling 0300 1232040 or online at