Cruel twist on ‘Hi Mum’ text scam

Australians have taken to social media to issue a warning about a nasty new variation on the ubiquitous “Hi Mum” scam that has stolen more than $2.6m from victims this year.

The Hi Mum scam was brought to the forefront by police who revealed that scammers were targeting older Australians by pretending to be their children.

Scammers will often request urgent loans or payments to victims who have been contacted by them via text. They claim they are unable to access their own money.

Scammers are now using a sinister new twist, posing as parents to ask their adult children for a financial favor.

Social media users have taken to the internet to warn others about this new scam. It manifests as a text message from a parent requesting urgent assistance.

The family impersonation texts shared online show the messages appear in a conversation thread as being sent by “Mum” or “Dad”, which is more sly and convincing than a text from a random number.

Texts received by suspicious Aussies show the scammers introducing themselves as “Mum” or “Dad” before asking for money for groceries or petrol.

“I’m at the petrol station and I bought the wrong card with me. Can you send 150. I will pay you back when I get home,” one fake parent wrote in a text followed by bank details.

According to many recipients of the texts, there is no phone number attached to the “Mum” or “Dad” text, so replying or trying to call the sender will expose the lies.

After victims reported losing $2.6 million in the first seven months this year, authorities are warning Australians to be cautious about insidious SMS scams.

Delia Rickard (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) was the deputy chair of this commission. She stated that it was important for suspicious messages to be independently verified.

“We are warning Australians to be very wary of messages from unknown numbers claiming to be from their children, parents, relatives or friends,” she said.

“Scammers will stop at nothing to get your personal details or money and this particular scam is designed to pull your heartstrings.”

The ACCC encourages Australians to contact the sender of the message via other communication channels or ask personal questions to determine their true identity.

“It’s important to stop and think if you get a message, especially on WhatsApp, because chances are it’s not your family member or friend – it’s a scammer,” Ms Rickard said.

“Above all, never send money without being absolutely sure who you are sending it to.”

These warnings are coming as Australians report losing more money to scammers than ever before. Residents lost $2bn last year to various scams.

Police ask anyone who has been victim to a scam to lose their money immediately and to report it to police.


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