‘Hi mum’ scam that tricks parents into handing over money on WhatsApp | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams


hatsapp users should be aware of a scam involving fraudsters targeting parents by impersonating their family members, particularly their grown-up children.

The “hi mum” scam first appeared on WhatsApp but there have been reports of people receiving the message via text.

The scammers are asking parents to send cash to help them out. And as the scam is circulating at a time when many are struggling with the cost of living crisis, recipients of the text may fall for the idea that a family member may need some help.

Which? reported that earlier this year Action Fraud had received 1,235 reports of criminals posing as loved ones in need on WhatsApp between February 3 and June 21 2022, amounting to a total financial loss of £1.5m.

They issued advice on what the scams look like as well as how to avoid and report them.

What is the “hi mum” scam?

The scam first became known when Which? reported that a victim realised a fraudster had been impersonating his sister.

The scammer had a convincing conversation with the victim which led to her transferring money for “car repairs”. There have also been cases where fraudsters managed to access chat history and continued ongoing conversations to appear more convincing.

There are also reports of the scam moving over to text messages from WhatsApp.

One version of the scam reads: “Hello mum, I’ve broken my phone and I’m using a friend’s old one. I need to talk it’s urgent can you text me on WhatsApp on my new number please.”

Another example read: “Hi mum I’m texting you off a friend’s phone I’ve smashed mine and their phone’s about to die, can you WhatsApp my new number please.”

The messages often start with the sender claiming they have lost their phone, it’s damaged, or they can’t access it. They will then go on to ask you for money for a fake difficult financial situation they’re in, and by playing on the close relationship you have with the person they’re impersonating.

How can I avoid the “hi mum” scam?

Don’t be tempted to transfer money immediately, always stop and take some time to review the details and the situation.

The bank details they give will most likely not match those of your loved one and it’s likely the scammer will tell you it’s because they can’t access their bank account.

You can also ask them to call you or send a voice note, to which they will probably respond with an excuse.

WhatsApp has also warned that its users should ensure that two-factor authentication is set up on their accounts and never to share their six-digit pin code with others.

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