PARENTS across South Yorkshire are urged to be aware of an emerging scam where fraudsters have posed as victims' children in a bid to steal thousands of pounds.
South Yorkshire Police said its fraud coordination team was aware of a number of reports in recent weeks where parents had received a WhatsApp, text or voice message from someone pretending to be their son or daughter.
The scammer, posing as the victim's child, claims they are in trouble and need help to pay a bill, asking the parent to sends money to the fraudster's bank account.
Victims caught in the scam have each lost around £3,900, said the police.
PC Jackie Cawley, from the fraud coordination team, said: "This is a particularly cruel scam where a worried parent is tricked into thinking their son or daughter is in financial trouble and needs help.
"In the scam, the victim receives a message from the fraudster, who pretends to be their child. They claim they have changed their mobile number or lost their phone to explain why they are contacting them on a different number to usual.
"They promise they will return the money the following day when they're able to go to the bank and get the cash - but of course it's all lies and the money has actually been sent to a criminal's bank account.
"Once the money has been transferred, it can be extremely difficult to trace and get back. Please make sure you share details of this scam with your families to prevent you becoming victims in the first place."
If you suspect you have received a scam message like this, try contacting your loved one through a trusted method - such as their usual phone number - to confirm the request is genuine. Insist you speak to them over the phone rather than trusting that the person at the end of the text message is who they say they are.
If you have been a victim of this scam, you can report it to Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre either online https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or by calling 0300 123 2040.