Parents are being warned over a distressing mobile phone text scam which tricks them into believing their child is injured.
Parents are duped when they are sent a text from a scammer posing as their child.
The ‘child’ says they have been injured in a car accident and had to use someone else’s phone.
The purpose of the scam is to get the victim to send the fraudster a mobile phone top-up code to add cash to their own phone – typically up to £40.
Cyber crime expert Simon Freeman said that because the purpose of the scam is to solicit a relatively small sum of money in the form of a mobile top-up, the fraudsters must be sending text messages to high volumes of people in order to make their efforts worthwhile.
Mr Freeman, who runs Freshskies software communications, said: “Cyber criminals are becoming far more sophisticated in their approaches and their use of socially engineered communications is proving difficult to combat.
“This scam is indicative of the kinds of psychological approaches criminals are using to improve their success rate.”
He also warned that the scam could easily become more believable by incorporating some personal details that are freely available online.
“If leakage of our personal data continues at the current pace then such scams may eventually become indistinguishable from reality. For instance, imagine this scam if personal details were used such as real names, real locations, real car details?”
In most cases the parent receives a quick burst of texts saying they urgently need the top-up code. The texts were clearly designed to cause panic and not give the parent time to think.
For more information on fraud call charity Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and fraud can be reported online at actionfraud.police.uk/report-a-fraud-including-online-crime.