Help request fraud

Stay up to date with the latest measures from the financial sector

5 min Reading time

Fraudsters pretend to be one of your loved ones via email, text or app messages. Or vice versa: they write to your loved ones in your name. They are asking for urgent financial help.

How does it work?


The scammers somehow get your data. They then send you a message on behalf of a close relative or close friend. Of course, the fraudsters first come up with an excuse why you are suddenly contacted by an unknown number. For example: “Sorry, I lost my smartphone. This is my new number.”

It is even possible that the text message was sent from a known email address or mobile number. Scammers can sometimes take over the existing email address or mobile number of a loved one (spoofing). After some small talk, you soon get the question to transfer money to a certain account number, because your 'dear one' urgently needs to pay for a large purchase or is having a bit of a financial difficulty. Usually it concerns amounts between 250 and 2,000 euros, sometimes even more.

The messages are very credible and real. You naturally want to 'help' your family member or friend and you tend to deposit the money immediately. Don't! Because when you contact your real family member or friend, you will realise that nothing is going on. And the scammers? They will be long gone with your money.

"Golden rule: always call the sender of the message, or ask some control questions with answers that can not be found in previous emails, chat messages or on social media."

What can you do to protect yourself?

Be alert! Suddenly received a message from one of your loved ones via an unknown number? Always check with the sender . Especially if you are asked to transfer money. Do not just proceed to payment.

  • Didn't call? No money! Only pay after you have personally spoken to and recognized your loved one.
  • A scammer makes excuses why he or she cannot speak to you verbally: the phone has fallen into the water, the new number has not yet been connected for voice connections, he/she is sitting in the silent compartment of the train, or he/she is is easily accessible and says that it is indeed very strange that your call does not come through.
  • High pressure and strong insistence on prompt payment? This is almost always a sign of cheating. Call the sender yourself first, or ask verification questions. Ask things that only you and your loved one can know and that not can be found online. Be wary of a new cell phone number, even if it has a photo of that acquaintance. Only replace the old number after you have spoken to and recognized that person orally.
  • Strange payment link? Don't click on it until you've spoken to and recognized the acquaintance who sent the link. If the payment request seems ok, check carefully what amount you are paying and to whom before you approve the payment.
  • Use all available security options. Many chat apps have safe procedures for legitimate users to change their mobile phone numbers. You do not have to inform your friends and family about the new mobile number yourself, the chat app automatically adjusts it to your contacts. Scammers trick victims into believing that those procedures are not working properly and that is why they contact them themselves. Use two-step verification in your social media apps as much as possible and secure your voicemail with a PIN. This way you are better protected against hijacking attempts by scammers.

Received a help request message?


Please report this attempted fraud to your bank and to the police. If you have received a text message from a scammer containing a payment link or an IBAN number, send it to your own bank as soon as possible.

Report such an attempt even if you have no damage. This gives the police a better view of the criminals behind this type of fraud.



Please follow next steps:

  • Call Card Stop on 078 170 170.
  • Contact your bank as soon as possible.
  • File a complaint with the police.