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 thrown into the spotlight earlier this month when police revealed scammers were preying on vulnerable older Australians by impersonating their children.
Once the scammers engage the victim in text conversation, they typically request an urgent loan or payment because they claim they cannot access their own money.
The ‘Hi Mum’ scam predominantly targeted older Australians, who lost millions in the scam.
Now scammers are using a sinister new twist by posing as parents asking their adult children for a financial favour.
Users have flocked to social media to warn others about the new scam, which manifests as a text from a parent asking for 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 me 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.
Social media users are warning each other of a worrying new variation on the ‘Hi Mum’ scam. Picture: Facebook
One scammer was unaware of his audience. Picture: Facebook
Authorities are urging Australians to be wary of insidious text scams after victims reported losing $2.6m in the first seven months of this year.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard said it was important to independently verify suspicious messages.
‘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 urges Australians to reach out to the sender of the message through other means of communication or ask personal questions to ascertain their true identity.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard is urging Australians to be wary of text scams.
‘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.’
The warnings come as Australians reported losing more money than ever to wily scammers. Last year, residents lost a record $2bn through various scams.
Police urge anyone who has lost money to scams to contact their bank as soon as possible and report the matter to police.
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