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SCAM SPOT: The ‘Hi Mum’ scam just got worse

02:30pm October 28 2022

The first ScamSpot, a series of 2-minute bites to help spot the latest scams. (Thomas Evans) 

If you’ve recently received a suspicious text message from ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’ urgently requesting money, you aren’t alone.

One of the newest scams on the block is a twist on its predecessor, the ‘Hi Mum’ scam, which saw Australians lose more than $2.6 million just this year, according to the ACCC’s Scamwatch. 

The new twist sees scammers posing as parents rather than children, claiming to be at a supermarket or the petrol station in need of money. It’s an attempt to pull on the heartstrings of people who are merely trying to help their parents. 

It seems like it would be easy enough to see through but, when circumstances align, it feels credible. It’s a timely reminder that we must all remain vigilant. 

Here’s a few tips from the ACCC's Scamwatch that may help.

First, never send money to anyone in a hurry. Any approach from a loved one or company with a great sense of urgency should be treated with utmost suspicion. 

Call your loved one on a trusted phone number and check the story. 

If you’re unable to contact them there, try a secondary contact method. 

And if you still can’t make contact, ask the unknown number a personal question. If their answer is general or suspect, do not transfer any funds.

Taking a second to think critically about the messages you receive online could save you a world of trouble.

For more information about the latest scams, go to Westpac's Latest Scams & Alerts info.


Ben Young is Westpac’s Head of Fraud and Financial Crime Insights. Ben’s team researches and operates Westpac’s key fraud protection processes for the ~25 million transactions processed each day by the bank, particularly around credit cards, internet banking, branch and applications for credit. Ben has been intimately involved in Westpac’s fraud processes since 2007 and has worked in various data led risk processes since 1997.

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