The "Hi Mum" scam is a highly profitable scheme for cybercriminals that has been causing significant financial losses to Australians.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australians have lost at least $7.2 million to the scam in the first quarter of 2023, with over 11,100 victims. Unfortunately, only 13% of victims report being scammed due to the embarrassment of being conned.
The "Hi Mum" scam starts with a message from an unknown number and a contact the victim knows, which reads:
"Hi Mum, how are you?"
The message creates a sense of urgency and concern, leading the victim to respond promptly. Once the victim answers, the scammer poses as the victim's child or relative, claiming to need money urgently.
The scammers use various tactics to trick the victims into believing their story, such as claiming to have been in a car accident or being robbed, leaving them stranded with no money.
The scammers then request money through a wire transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency and instruct the victim not to tell anyone about the request. Victims often send money without verifying the demand, leading to significant financial losses.
The "Hi Mum" scam is highly profitable for cybercriminals because it preys on human emotions and uses social engineering tactics to gain the victim's trust.
To avoid falling victim to the "Hi Mum" scam, it's crucial to remain vigilant and verify any request for money, even if it appears to come from a trusted contact.
Here are the Top 5 ways to avoid falling victim to the "Hi Mum" scam:
Always verify any request for money, even if it appears to come from a trusted contact as scammers often pose as trusted friends or relatives to gain the victim's trust.
However, it's important to avoid assuming the message is legitimate and to contact the person directly to confirm the request.
If in doubt, give 'em a shout!
Avoid calling any phone numbers in the message, as these may be fake. Instead, use a known phone number to contact the person and confirm the request for money.
Scammers can use personal information such as your phone number or email address to target you with future scams.
You can avoid sharing personal information online, especially with unknown contacts. Do not respond or engage with the sender if you receive a message from an unknown number.
Cybercriminals are always coming up with new scams and tactics to trick their victims. It's essential to stay informed about the latest scams and how they work.
You can check official websites and news sources regularly to stay up-to-date with the latest scams and learn how to protect yourself.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra layer of security that can help protect your online accounts from being hacked.
2FA requires you to provide a code or other verification form and your password to log in to your account. This makes it more difficult for scammers to access your account even if they have your password.
You can read more about Two-Factor Authentication HERE
Be cautious of urgent requests for money, especially those that involve wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency.
It's called Manufactured Urgency
Could you take time to think through the request and verify its legitimacy before sending any funds? If the request seems too good to be true or doesn't feel right, trust your instincts and do not send any money.
In addition to these five tips, it's important to remember that scammers rely on human emotions to gain the trust of their victims.
By remaining calm, not acting impulsively, and being aware of common tactics used by scammers, you can help protect yourself from falling victim to the "Hi Mum" scam and other similar schemes.
By staying informed, remaining vigilant, and following these top five tips, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to this and other scams.
If you feel like you need a refresher course, you can revisit our cyber security training at any time.