People in Nottinghamshire are being targeted by a scam texter claiming to be called ‘Sarah’.
The fraudster has been texting victims saying they have been in an accident and requests money or phone credit.
Whoever is running the con appears to bank on the recipient having a close friend or relative by the same name – and several people have almost been caught out.
Sarah Williams’ father, from Hucknall, was at first tricked by the message.
“My dad called me asking if everything was OK because he had received a message saying I was in hospital,” she said.
“He had replied to the message initially and received a reply with the same message again – and that’s when he called me.
“I think it is human nature to panic as the worst goes through your head.
“Luckily he has checked his bank account and phone bill, and no money was taken – he has not received any messages since.”
— Kate Chaplin (@KateChaplinTV) May 8, 2017
— Sarah Williams (@5arahwills) May 8, 2017
Notts TV presenter Kate Chaplin also received a text on Monday (May 8) from the scammer, claiming they were in hospital and needed a phone voucher.
The text read: “Hi its Sarah. Could you do me a favour? i had a small accident and broke my fibula. Im stuck at the hospital. Can you text me back once you get this message? x”
When Kate responded to the text, thinking it was a relative, the scammer replied saying: “Can you get me a phone voucher till tomorrow? x”.
Nottinghamshire Police advise people who receive messages like this to report the number to Action Fraud, which is a one-stop reporting centre handling all reports of fraud in the UK.
Notts TV is awaiting a response from Action Fraud on how many people are thought to have been affected.
The scam appears to have been used on others in the past.
— Suzanne C McIntosh (@smcintoshplan) August 13, 2016
One Twitter user wrote: “@policescotland tel: 077*******8 texted me yest saying ‘it’s Sarah….broken elbow….request £20 phone top up’ etc….#scam #sarah #edin.”
Another wrote: “Watch out for #scam #texts from someone calling themselves #Sarah with a #brokenleg asking for money / phone vouchers. #thievingb******s.”
Anyone suspecting they have been affected by this fraud or any other scam is advised to report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or logging it online.