‘Hi Mum’ Scam Texts Are Targeting Loving Mothers and How Dare They

‘Hi Mum’ Scam Texts Are Targeting Loving Mothers and How Dare They

The ACCC’s Scamwatch is warning of a scam targeting our mums, taking advantage of the fact they’d likely hand over some cash to help you out of a sticky situation.

According to Scamwatch, there has been a significant rise in “Hi Mum” scams in recent months – over 1,150 Australians have fallen victim this year.

Known as “Hi Mum” or “family impersonation” scams, victims are contacted, usually through WhatsApp, by a scammer posing as a family member or friend. Sometimes this is by saying, “it’s me”, but in some instances, the scammer has gathered social media info, including names, to pose as someone legitimate.

The scammer will claim they have lost or damaged their phone and are making contact from a new number. Hopeful the victim has taken the bait, the scammer will ask for personal information such as photos for their social media profile or money to help urgently pay a bill, contractor or replace the phone. These requests continue the ruse of a lost or broken phone with the justification that the funds are needed because they can’t access their online banking temporarily.

“Scammers will stop at nothing to get your personal details or money and this particular scam is designed to pull your heartstrings,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“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.”

In the first seven months of this year, Aussies reported losses of $2.6 million – and that’s just the losses reported to Scamwatch. The vast majority of these scams were reported in June and July 2022, too. Over two-thirds of family impersonation scams have been reported by women over 55 years of age, accounting for more than $1.4 million in losses.

What to do if you receive a ‘Hi Mum’ text?

First, verify. Reach out to that person directly, outside of the message you’ve just received. If they don’t answer, don’t take that as a sign it’s really them. Wait to hear back from the person, or, verify info with the scammer. It’s probably best to stick to a personal question, one that can’t be gathered from your social media profile or used to crack your passwords.

Above all, never send money without being absolutely certain of who you are sending it to.

If you have reason to believe you have been scammed, contact your bank, block the scammer’s account and reach out to Scamwatch. They’re actually taking these things seriously.

Please show this to your mum, let’s keep their kind nature safe from horrible people.

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