Written by Nn Beiboer and Sjors Beukeboomredacteur Economy and editor Online

This holiday season is the team katusha for digital fraudsters. Earlier today warned the Consumers for nepwebwinkels and yesterday it was announced that phishing is a growing problem. And now comes another warning: beware of scammers via WhatsApp.

With WhatsApp messages know fraudsters thousands of euros from unsuspecting citizens loot. They pretend to be a friend, colleague or family member with a new telephone number, win the trust of their victim and ask him or her then with a thoughtful “excuse” a big mountain of money to make.

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The last 4 months the number of reports of this kind of fraud already exploded. There came to the Fraudehelpdesk almost 300 notifications about within. For comparison: around 2017, there were still no 50.

The festival of st. nicholas, Christmas and New years are, according to cyber expert Mary-Jo de Leeuw ‘cashmomenten’ for cybercriminals. “The holidays provide scammers plenty of opportunities for excuses,” she says. “And do you want someone’s money, then you have a good excuse.”

2656 euro

“I’m just with a problem”, that message got Michael* of his niece. “I still have a number of outstanding accounts before 14.00 hours paid. But I have an error at the bank and so may be nothing. I wanted to ask you if you have two accounts for me would be able to pay in advance.”

“I was very busy that day and could give me there view on what to imagine,” says Michael. So he made a total of 2656,31 euro rushed over to one R. B. Hemmels. “I think it is very stupid of myself,” says Michael afterwards.

He has reported, but the money he lost. “I don’t expect much of it. Reasonable chance that I have at the bottom of the pile come.”


“They’re making a very serious story,” says The Lion. “My flight is cancelled, do you want to transfer money to my girlfriend so that new tickets can buy?” You get such a message from your daughter in the Christmas holidays with friends a wintertripje, trap there or not.

“Help, I need my rent within two hours of transfer otherwise I am thrown out. But my debit card was stolen when I was christmas shopping.” The Lion: “Also, such a message may your distrust.”

Social engineering

This form of fraud is social engineering called. “On public channels yarn fraudsters to information about their victims,” explains De Leeuw.

for example, Through a Marketplace or a company’s website find out the phone number of the victim. That gets a WhatsApp message from someone he or she trusts. “Hi Marieke here, this is my new number, the old can get away.”

Fraudsters picking, for example, a picture of your friend, family member or colleague on Facebook or Instagram. They also see exactly how you talk and what you are binding. “With all the information they can find to do they are very convincing when your famous.”

After some chatter back and forth, comes the monkey out of the sleeve: “I’m sitting with a problem. I need money, can you help me?”

“He knew all of my son”

The criminals know very many of their victims. At Anton* did the scammer as his son and troggelde as 1750 euros from him. “He knew everything of my son. He knew about a renovation of his house, the names of cousins and that he is on holiday to the Ardennes.”

“The con artist said that the installation of a new skylight will not go ahead if there that day not to be paid, and so I transfered the money,” he says against the NIS. “I realized that erin was kicked out when the hacker is a mistake in the name of the partner of my son.”

Anton rang and when the wife of his son. “Who said that my son is not in the Ardennes, but just next to her sat on the sofa.”

Social pressure

That the last time so many notifications from WhatsApp-fraud depends, according to De Leeuw also worked with betaalontwikkelingen and social pressures that we impose upon ourselves. “It’s super easy to transfer money with your phone, at the same time, you feel the pressure to immediately have to pay.”

Via WhatsApp is a request for payment is sent, that you can then easily via an app on your phone can pay. The blue ticks betray to you chatgenoot that the message was read. That puts pressure on someone. “We are inclined to immediately respond.”

Comment WhatsApp

WhatsApp says that security is a top priority, but users warn about fraudsters, the company will not do. “We recommend people to the veiligheidspagina on our website. There are tips on to responsible WhatsApp to use. It can scams and avoid fraud.”


The police is familiar with the phenomenon, but says not always fast what to do. “In general, there must be sufficient evidence to conduct an investigation.”

But there are already a lot of information is known, you would say: the bank account number and phone number that the scammer used, for example. “But the process of getting a suspect to come out of intensive and sometimes long-term,” says a spokesman of the politiekorpsleiding. “We see, for example, that many of them abroad, and the police must have a special search warrant.”

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the advice from the police reads: “double check and verify always whether you have really that well known. App, call or email the person at another number, or e-mail address that you him or her know. Until then it appears your knowledge/family member really needs help, you know that the appje reliable.”

The Lion adds something to it: “Screen all of your accounts. People are inclined to put their whole life on social media to throw. Why do you do that? There is misuse it.”

* For privacy reasons are not the real names of the victims.