'Hey mum': Whatsapp scammers are duping parents by pretending to be their children

The fraudsters say they are texting from a new number as they have lost their old phone

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By Web Desk

Published: Mon 8 Aug 2022, 12:12 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Aug 2022, 10:37 PM

A new Whatsapp scam has emerged in various parts of the world, involving scammers pretending to be children of the targets.

The message begins with 'Hey mum' or 'Hey dad', and typically goes onto say that the child is texting from their new number since their old one is out of commission. They then proceed to ask for money urgently to buy a new phone or pay off bills.

Around €1.8 million has already been scammed from unsuspecting victims in just four months in the UK, according to media reports.

An Irish newspaper reported that in February 2022, Patricia Land from Wales lost €2,600 to one of these scams.

“It was so clever, so so clever,” she told the newspaper. “He texted saying: ‘Hi Mum, my phone has fallen, it’s completely broken, I’ve had to get a new one, can you save this new number’ then some kisses.”

Patricia said she felt "violated" after realising she was the victim of a scam.

Luckily for another woman in Wales, the bank payment she made to her 'daughter' didn't go through.

She received a seemingly natural message saying "Hi mum, it's your favourite daughter". So when the person who she assumed was her daughter said she had a standing order of £900 that needed paying, Margaret immediately tried to help.

"Because she had just had a baby and had been on maternity leave, I assumed she was paying nursery fees," Margaret said. "They asked for £900 but I only had £700 in my bank account so I replied and said do you want me to go to the building society and put more in or could I do it by credit card. They said yes, credit card was fine."

Luckily for Margaret the credit payment didn't go through due to the in-built checks from her bank, despite Margaret ringing the bank up and reassuring them the payment was for her daughter. When the scammer changed the amount needed and asked again, Margaret complained to her second daughter. Her other daughter told her she was being scammed.

"I was very lucky because it was £900," said Margaret. "It wasn't a small amount. It was upsetting, I was crying afterwards and thinking how could I have been so stupid? If I'd had enough money in my account, I would've just paid it over online banking."

Margaret said it was important people were made aware of the scam: "This one is so cleverly done," she said. "If I'd read about it or seen it in an article I might have thought twice."

The scam is not confined to the UK. In Australia too there have been multiple reports of this fraud, leading to loss of money.

The police in Sydney posted the following warning on Facebook:

“The scam known as the ‘mum and dad’ scam usually involves a scammer messaging a parent on WhatsApp claiming to be their child and asking for money or to pay a bill."

“Scammers may pose as family and friends to gain instant trust.

“If you get an unexpected message from someone claiming they have a new number or new bank account, call them directly on their usual number to confirm.

“Do not ever transfer money to anyone unless you have spoken to them in person and confirmed the transfer details with your known person.”


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