Mobile phone top-up vouchers may be generally a thing of the past, but fraudsters are still using them to dupe unsuspecting people into parting with their cash.
Cheshire police have warned that a particular scam targeting parents is doing the rounds, where crooks send out distressing messages to parents purporting to be from a loved one.
The text says that they are in hospital and that the only way they are able to make contact is via text message, and the scammers then ask the victims to purchase a mobile phone top-up code and text it back to them.
Once they receive the code, they are able to get the cash credited to their own mobile phone account.
One example message reads: " Mum i did try and phone from some else phone signal is really bad, there has been a terrible car accident. I’m in the ICU ward in hospital my phone ain’t switching on and needs charging.
"I’m on this mobile number please make sure you reply to this number, my friend didn’t make it he died before we got to hospital and his sister’s fighting for her life.
"Mum i had my seatbelt on, i’ve got a head injury but i’m ok. Going into Xray to be seen, please make sure you message me back and don’t phone cause mobile phones aren’t allowed here so please text in case I’m in there. I will go outside and phone you mum its really bad i need you to do me favour before it’s too late, as soon as you get my text please reply by text i need you to do me a favour mum, time is running out and i need you to do something mum”.
A warning on the Cheshire police Facebook page this week read: "Fraudsters are sending out distressing messages to parents in the hope that they will reply and send mobile phone top-up voucher codes.
"These messages can easily evolve into elaborate scenarios and are designed to play on your emotions and get you to react quickly without thinking.
"If you receive one of these text messages, don't send any codes or money, delete it and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040."