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Nanaimo mother loses $1,800 in WhatsApp messaging scam

A local woman admits she ignored the warning signs of a scam out of misplaced motherly love.

Nanaimo RCMP reports a woman is out $1,800 after falling for a scam on the messaging platform WhatsApp on Monday, Feb. 13.

With her daughter travelling, the woman had been initially using WhatsApp to communicate with her. Weeks prior, the daughter told her mother to switch to Instagram messaging after her WhatsApp account was blocked.

On Monday, a message came through from the daughter’s account on WhatsApp telling her she’d dropped her phone in the toilet and needed $1,800 in pre-paid Mastercards to buy a new one.

The WhatsApp messages however were not from the woman’s daughter, but rather a scammer who sent the woman around town to buy the cards.

“The clerk at each location warned her that it appeared she was being scammed,” Reserve Cst. Gary O’Brien said. “The victim, however; overlooked the warning signs because in her mind, she was simply helping her daughter out of a bind.”

Nine cards were purchased at gas stations and Walmart in north Nanaimo with the numbers sent through WhatsApp to the scammer.

From there the money was gone.

The woman only realized it was a scam when “her daughter” asked for more, which prompted her to reach out to Nanaimo RCMP.

Experts with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre advise any requests for money or unusual activity should always be verified, and the purchasing of gift cards in high volumes should be treated with skepticism.


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