Mum’s warning after being scammed out of £2,500 by a scammer posing as her daughter

Sheelagh Stewart believed she texted her daughter during the exchange in which the scammer asked for money because her online banking was frozen

Sheelagh Stewart, 65, from East Calder, has been swindled out of £2,500 after a scammer pretended to be her daughter.
Sheelagh Stewart was cheated out of £2,500

Britons are warned of WhatsApp scammers after a mother was scammed out of more than £2,500 by someone posing as her distraught daughter.

Sheelagh Stewart believed she texted her daughter Beth, 22, during the exchange in which the scammer asked for money because her online banking was frozen.

The pharmacist, 65, from East Calder in West Lothian, told daily record The person who believed her to be Beth claimed she dropped her phone in the toilet and it got soaked with water.

They said their online banking was frozen for 48 hours due to a security policy and claimed to have a £1390.45 bill which they urgently need to pay now and pay later for a purchase.

Sheelagh immediately transferred the money she had saved for a trip for her and Beth.

The distraught mum said: “I was convinced the messages were from Beth. The grammar was the same, there was no broken English, it didn’t seem like a strange message from her.

The scammer asked Sheelagh for three separate payments

Sheelagh said she was “convinced” she was speaking to her daughter, Beth

“It never occurred to me to question that. Learning about a broken phone and being asked for help is definitely the kind of text a child would send to their parents.

“I have since shown the messages to someone who works in a bank and they said if their daughter had sent them they would have sent them money too.

“Like any mother, my first reaction was to help her.”

Upon request, Sheelagh then transferred a further £1,180.28 to the account details provided by the scammer, believing her daughter, a beautician, had ordered equipment for her job.

“Beth is a beautician and the salon she worked at was just raided so I figured the money must have been for equipment.

“It never occurred to me that it could be a scam.”

But alarm bells started ringing when the scammer asked for a further £996.48.

Sheelagh asked her daughter to confirm her identity, to which she received a response that read, “Mom stop freaking out” and “only I would know your hair is blonde”.

Sheelagh asked to confirm her daughter’s identity after realizing she had been scammed

“That’s when I realized what was really going on,” she says.

“I had planned to use this money to take Beth on a very special surprise trip.

“I only make £9 an hour so money is a lot of money to me.

“I honestly feel so stupid.”

Sheelagh’s Bank Santander and Police Scotland have confirmed to The Record that they are investigating the fraud.

Police Sergeant James Gowling of Livingstone Police Station added: “Scammers are becoming ever more sophisticated in how they target their victims and can be very persuasive and persuasive with their methods.

“If you are ever unsure about the calls, texts or emails you are receiving, always make every effort to ensure that the person is who they say they are, represents who they say they are and that it is legitimate and reputable.

“It is important to remember that scammers are not just targeting the elderly and vulnerable. Absolutely everyone is at risk of being a victim of fraud.”

Lisa Webb, which ones? Consumer law expert added: “These WhatsApp scams are one of the latest brazen examples of callous scammers who are devising new tactics to steal innocent victims from their hard-earned cash.

“If you have any doubts, quickly call your family member or friend to make sure it really is them.”

Earlier this year, an urgent WhatsApp warning was issued to all of its two billion users after it was revealed that a new scam trying to encourage people to give up personal information was making the rounds.

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Fry Electronics Team

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