Australians are being warned of a new version of the “Hi Mum” scam after more than $2 million was stolen from victims over recent months.
Known as “family impersonation scams”, this version of the scam sees Australians receive a text message claiming to be from a parent, asking to borrow some money followed by bank account details to receive the transfer.
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However, the messages are now appearing in a thread from a contact titled “Mum”, making it more convincing than a text message from a random number.
One Australian woman reported she had received the text from “Mum” asking for money for groceries.
“I’m at Coles and brought the wrong card with me. Can you please lend me 150. I will pay you back tomorrow afternoon,” the text read.
And she’s not the only one to receive this kind of message.
Another Aussie woman posted in a community Facebook group last week claiming she too had received a text from “Mum”.
“My partner just got a message from ‘Mum’ asking to borrow $150 for shopping as she took the wrong card,” she said.
“She tried to reply, but the message didn’t go through, checked the info and there’s no number attached to the message … be careful.”
More than 1150 Australians fell victim to the so-called “Hi Mum” scam in the first seven months of this year, with total reported losses of $2.6 million.
Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Matthew Craft, said anyone who received a message claiming to be a family member with a new phone number should be wary.
“We encourage people to look out for suspicious behaviours demonstrated by these scammers; including their failure to personalise any communication and excuses as to why they can’t speak on the phone,” he said.
“If you receive a suspicious message on your mobile, particularly through social media or encrypted messaging, reach out to your relative by an alternative method of communication or call to confirm it is in fact them.”
The ACCC has a list of guidelines to help people protect themselves from text phishing scams. It recommends the following:
7NEWS.com.au has reached out to the ACCC for further comment.
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