Dacorum people warned after residents scammed out of thousands of pounds through WhatsApp

The police are asking people to be wary of messages in the encrypted app.

Hertfordshire Constabulary is warning residents to be careful of WhatsApp messages that appear to be from relatives asking for money.

Police say that parents have received messages claiming that their child’s phone has broken and the child needs urgent financial assistance.

14 reports were made during this month, with total losses of more than £13,000.

A total of £13,000 in losses were reported.

Detective Sergeant Mark Fava, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, has reminded people on WhatsApp may not be who they claim they are.

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DS Fava said: “If you get a message from a number you do not recognise, claiming to be someone you know and asking for money or personal information, it is best to pause and check that they are who they claim to be.”

He added: “We advise asking them to call you or meet you in person before acting on their request.”

If you think you are a fraud victim, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report - using a different phone to that used to communicate with the fraudsters.

If fraud is in progress or someone’s life is in danger, call 999 immediately.