How to Avoid the “Hi, Mum” Text Scam this 2023

Knowing how to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams is necessary in our interconnected world where scams are unfortunately all too common. Imagine getting a text that appears to be from your child, asking for immediate help in the form of cash. 

These “Hi Mum” text scams are designed to trigger an emotional response and manipulate you into sending money quickly. With the increasing number of these scams being reported, the urgency to stay educated and protect ourselves has never been higher.

This article gives you the information on how to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams and keep yourself and your loved ones safe from these nasty tricks.

What is Hi, Mum Text Scams?

The “Hi Mum” text scam is an impersonation fraud where a scammer poses as a family member, often a child, to deceive the recipient into sending money. These scams usually occur on messaging platforms like WhatsApp or via SMS. How to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams can save you a lot of emotional and financial stress.

The scammer typically begins by saying they’ve lost their phone or are in trouble, aiming to elicit quick, emotional responses that bypass rational scrutiny. How to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams is a lesson you don’t want to learn the hard way. Once trust is gained, they ask for financial assistance for some fabricated emergency, often urging immediate action.

Real-Life “Hi, Mum” Text Scams

Navigating the emotional maze of the “Hi Mum” text scams can be a harrowing experience, and unfortunately, it’s becoming all too common. Below are some real-life stories demonstrating the urgent need to educate ourselves and our loved ones on avoiding the “Hi Mum” text scams. Each story serves as a poignant lesson and a call to action for all of us.

Cautionary Tale of Losing £1,600 to ‘Hi, Mum’ WhatsApp Scam

The ‘Hi Mum’ text scams, known for conning people by posing as distressed family members, have proliferated through various messaging platforms, especially WhatsApp. One such victim told the Guardian about her ordeal last December when she received a message from someone posing as her daughter.

Convinced her daughter was bound, she transferred £1,600 to cover an urgent invoice the scammer claimed. It wasn’t until she tried reaching her daughter through the “new number” and ultimately the real one that she realized she’d been swindled.

The aftermath left her feeling “stupid and embarrassed,” a sentiment echoed by many who have fallen for this type of scam. She couldn’t recover the money from her bank, further eroding her self-confidence.

How to avoid the “Hi, Mum” text scams becomes ever more important when we hear stories like this. This distressing experience serves as a solemn reminder of how easy it can be to fall victim to these scams, underlining the importance of vigilance and education on how to avoid the “Hi, Mum” text scams.

How Jan Nearly Lost £3,000 to the ‘Hi, Mum’ Scam

The “Hi Mum” text scams have even reached the remote Channel Islands, as demonstrated by a woman named Jan, who was nearly defrauded out of £3,000. How to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams is knowledge that could have saved her much stress.

Receiving a text from what she believed to be her son’s friend’s phone, Jan was told that her son needed immediate help to pay a bill. How to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams could have prevented this near miss. The ruse was especially convincing because her actual son’s phone was experiencing issues at the time.

Realizing something was amiss, she quickly contacted her bank, HSBC Channel Islands. How to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams becomes vital when banks might not be of immediate help. Although the bank initially stated they couldn’t help since she had authorized the transaction, the case is still under investigation.

This near-miss is a strong warning to stay alert and follow precautionary measures to avoid falling victim to “Hi Mum” text scams. As Agnes Miller from Guernsey Trading Standards advises, always verify by contacting your family member through different means if you suspect scammers are targeting you.

How the Scammers Get Your Number

How to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams starts by understanding how scammers get a hold of your number in the first place. Once they have it, you are a potential target. How to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams should be the first thing you think about when you’re wondering about the security of your information.

Here, we dissect the primary ways scammers obtain your phone number, arming you with the knowledge you need on how to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams.

  1. Data Breaches

Hackers often access databases that store customer information, including phone numbers. Keep an eye on the news for any reports of data breaches, especially those involving companies with whom you’ve shared your details.

  1. Public Records

Some scammers mine public records for phone numbers. This might include government databases, electoral rolls, or even phone directories. Be wary of what information you make public.

  1. Social Media

Scammers can also crawl social media profiles where you may have posted your number in a post, comment, or profile information. Ensure your privacy settings are tight to limit access to your personal information.

  1. Third-Party Websites

Anytime you input your phone number into an online form or survey, you risk that information being sold or leaked. Always double-check the legitimacy and privacy policies of websites where you share your number.

Typical Phrases or Tactics Used by Scammers

To better understand how to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams, it’s essential to be aware of scammers’ common phrases and tactics. These red-flag indicators can help you sniff out a scam before you find yourself out of pocket.

  1. Urgency

Phrases like “urgent,” “ASAP,” or “need help now” are designed to make you act quickly without thinking.

  1. Impersonal Greetings

Scammers might use generic greetings like “Hi Mum” or “Hey, Dad,” even when the person they’re impersonating doesn’t usually speak that way.

  1. Vague Details

Scammers often avoid giving away too many details, as vagueness helps them evade your questions and suspicions.

  1. Emotional Appeals

Terms like “I’m scared,” “I don’t know what to do,” or “I’m in trouble” are used to elicit emotional reactions and make you more likely to help.

  1. Payment Methods

Requesting payment through unconventional or untraceable means, like cryptocurrency or gift cards.

  1. Pressure to Not Contact Other Family

They may say something like “Don’t tell Dad” or “I haven’t told anyone else, and I trust you to help me.”

  1. Changing Platforms

Starting with a text or email, but quickly moving the conversation to a more private or encrypted service like WhatsApp.

  1. Inconsistencies in Language

Spelling and grammatical mistakes or a tone that doesn’t match how the person they are impersonating speaks.

Preventative Measures

How to avoid the “Hi Mum” text scams can be better achieved by taking preventative measures. In a world where “Hi Mum” text scams are on the rise, being preventative can save you money and the emotional turmoil that comes from being deceived. Here’s a guide to some preventative measures to safeguard against these scams.

  1. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for your accounts wherever possible. This adds an extra layer of security, making it difficult for scammers to impersonate you.

  1. Verify Before Transferring Money

Always call the person requesting money through a verified number to ensure they are who they claim to be. Never rely solely on text messages or emails.

  1. Educate Family Member

Ensure your family members, especially those who might not be tech-savvy, know this type of scam and how to handle suspicious messages.

  1. Be Skeptical

Always question unsolicited communications, especially those that ask for money, personal information, or immediate action. A healthy dose of skepticism can save you much trouble.

  1. Consult With Others

If you’re ever in doubt, consult a trusted family member or friend before taking action. Sometimes, a second opinion can provide the clarity needed to spot a scam.

  1. Check Financial Statements Regularly

Make it a habit to scrutinize your bank and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions. The sooner you spot something amiss, the better your chances of resolving it.

  1. Report Suspicious Activity

Always report any scam attempts to the authorities. This not only helps you but also aids in building a case against the scammers, which might prevent them from targeting others.

Don’t Say ‘Hi’ Back

We all want to trust a message that starts with ‘Hi Mum,’ but as you’ve seen, scammers are getting clever. Being informed is your best defense. You know the red flags now, and you’ve got a playbook for what to do if you’re targeted. Keep an eye out not just for yourself but also for your family and friends. How to avoid the “Hi, Mum” text scams is a lesson we all need to learn.