John and Patricia thought they were helping their daughter in a crisis. They were actually being scammed | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams

When Patricia spoke to her daughter over the phone on a Saturday morning, everything had seemed normal.

They had a long video call over the course of breakfast and said their goodbyes.

But when she got a text from a mystery number a short while later, things had gone wrong.

Patricia’s daughter had dropped her phone in the toilet and had lost access to all her banking details.

And she needed money urgently to pay a bill by midday. 

The scammer seemed to reference personal details while messaging John and Patricia.(Supplied)

Patricia’s daughter was not sending these messages. They were being sent by a scammer. 

Patricia said the messages referenced personal details like house renovations and how stressed her daughter had been, making them more believable. 

“It was almost as though someone had heard our conversation on WhatsApp because of the things she said after that,” Patricia said.

The scammer asked Patricia and John to pay an invoice for a new kitchen, promising to pay back the money by 9pm.

Under the pretence of renovation payments, the Perth couple initially sent through $12,899.99 to an account with a major bank branch in Perth’s CBD.

The scammer received the payment, sending love hearts and thankful emojis.

Two minutes later, they were asking for more money.

A text message conversation with a scammer
After receiving one payment, the scammer tried to convince John and Patricia to send another.(Supplied)

John raised his daily payment limit in order to send more money, flagging fraud concerns with his bank.

A second payment of $10,278.99 was stopped by John’s bank Westpac, who informed the couple they may have been victims of a scam.

Westpac informed the couple they had notified the other bank involved, but no funds from the first payment have been recovered so far.

Scams becoming an unfortunate ‘way of life’ for Australians

More than 1,150 Australians have fallen victim to the “Hi Mum” scam, with a huge spike in cases this winter.

Australians were defrauded of a total reported $2.6 million in the first seven months of the year alone.

Experts estimate that unreported scams could have the figure even higher.

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