WhatsApp call from ‘relative’ can cost you dearly


Manmeet Singh Gill

Amritsar, January 4

A number of people have been receiving audio calls on WhatsApp these days from phone numbers registered in foreign countries wherein the caller impersonates an old friend or a relative to extract money. With most people having relatives, family members or friends living in foreign countries, the fraudsters try to exploit people into sending some money by faking emergencies.

Sharanjit Singh, a local resident, revealed, “I received a phone call from an unidentified number where a person greeted me as if he was a close friend. When I asked for his name, he asked how I could forget him? He behaved as if he was offended when I could not recognise his voice.” Singh said that as he was aware of these fraud calls, the caller finally asked if he did not have any friends or relatives in any foreign country. “When I said no, he disconnected the call,” he added.

Other residents too reported similar incidents where the caller tried to establish a connection with the victim and later on asked for money. While most people smelled a scam and did not entertain the caller by sending money, there are a number of incidents where people fell prey to these conmen.

Jagmeet Singh, a local resident, had an interesting experience earlier this week when he received a WhatsApp call from a UK-based number. Having heard of such fraudsters on the prowl, the receiver decided to play along. “When I received the call, I decided to have a little fun. I told the caller that I know that he is a fraudster and that I do not have the money but I can talk as I am bored,” he said.

Jagmeet Singh further said, “I also told him that people are aware of such calls and nobody pays any money these days and that he is just wasting his time.” The caller asked Jagmeet to send a copy of a person’s identity card and his phone number. “The scammer asked me to send the number of the person who does have the money and promised me that he would send half the amount he gets from that person to me,” claimed Jagmeet, adding that the caller gave him his other number and asked him to call him whenever he is ready.

Well, the incidents clearly indicate how scammers are trying to dupe people and even get information about potential victims from the people. The police have already received many such complaints and advised people to exercise caution while dealing with unidentified callers and suspicious web links.