A Fermanagh woman who had her savings stolen after being deceived by a WhatsApp scammer posing as her son is grateful for the “absolutely fantastic” support of the PSNI officers who helped her during her ordeal.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke to The Impartial Reporter to share her thanks to the police but also to warn others to be vigilant of similar scams.

Describing herself as disabled and living alone, the woman explained that a sum of £700, that she had been saving from her benefits, was stolen from her bank account at the start of January.

This occured after she was contacted via WhatsApp by a scammer pretending to be her son.

She said that she received two WhatsApp messages from the scammer, who claimed to be her son using a borrowed phone.

Due to the nature of the messages, which in the moment seemed to align with a situation her son could have been in, along with the urgency of the request for money, the woman complied.

However, she later called her son, who told her that he had not been in contact with her via WhatsApp, confirming her fears that she had been scammed. He then advised her to contact the police immediately.

“I believed the messages to be from my son but, in hindsight, reading the messages back, I should have twigged [that it was a scam], but I didn’t,” the woman told this newspaper, commenting that she felt stupid following the ordeal.


Grateful for the quick action of the police, with officers calling to her house within an hour of her reporting the scam, the woman said: “I was overwhelmed by their kindness, compassion and understanding.

“I was in bits at the time, but they didn’t make me feel stupid, and they were so diligent. I am so grateful to them – they got me through it all.”

Fortunately, the woman’s bank was able to recover her stolen savings during the days following the scam.

Advising others to be wary of WhatsApp scams, the woman added: “Be careful and just be wary.”