Parents Warned About Cruel ‘Hi Mom’ Texting Scam That Has Already Hunted Unsuspecting Families $2M
- Parents are being scammed across the country by cell phone scammers
- Scammers are sending text messages from unknown numbers asking for money in the scam
- Residents of NSW and Victoria account for more than half of the $2 million taken
Parents have been warned after scammers scammed more than $2 million from families, mostly in four states, using a surreptitious text message.
The highly effective “hi mom” cell phone scam plays on parents’ fears when scammers text from another number pretending to be one of their kids.
The messages claim that the son or daughter has a new phone and tell the parents to delete their other number.
Scammers have used WhatsApp (pictured) where they play the role of son or daughter, telling them they have a new phone number and delete their old one
The criminals spin a story pretending to be a parent’s child about needing money to transfer or pay for something they can’t do themselves due to a banking problem (photo, one of the lyrics)
Most of the victims are over the age of 55 and use apps such as WhatsApp – “Unfortunately, many parents are victims because they are just nice people who are concerned about their child’s well-being,” police said.
Parents duped into handing over $2 million to the scammers across the country (photo, one of the lyrics)
The scam messages run a story about needing money to be transferred or to pay for something, which they cannot do themselves due to a banking problem.
The lyrics emphasize that the issue is urgent before payment details are provided, and offer to pay their “parents” back later.
Victims in NSW and Victoria account for more than half of the money lost in the scams, with Western Australia and Queensland close behind.
It’s because fraudsters are now using other avenues, such as “traditional” SMS and text messaging, to approach their victims.
Such scams have appeared on UK WhatsApp accounts in recent months, handing UK parents £1.5 million in just six months.
“Victims of the ‘Hi Mum’ scam date back to at least last October abroad, but since May we have seen a significant increase in reports not only here in NSW but in jurisdictions across Australia,” the commander of the cybercrime of the NSW Police Department. said Chief Inspector Matthew Craft.
“We encourage people to watch out for suspicious behavior from these scammers; including their failure to personalize communication and apologies for not being able to talk on the phone.
“The demographics of the victims are predominantly over the age of 55 and unfortunately many parents are being victimized because they are just nice people who are concerned about the well-being of their child,” said Det Supt Craft.
The money transferred is usually quickly moved from bank accounts to cryptocurrency, with victims unlikely to get their money back.
People who have lost money through scams should contact their bank or financial institution as soon as possible and file a report with the police.
Such scams have appeared on UK WhatsApp accounts in recent months, handing UK parents £1.5million in just six months (pictured, a text message an Aussie received)
Most of the victims came from Victoria and NSW, but Queenslanders and Western Australians have also been affected