18 September 2022
We are urging our customers to be wary of text messages from family members or friends who reach out for urgent help with a new scam circulating.
The ACCC’s Scamwatch website have reported that more than 1,150 Australians fell victim to the scam, known as “Hi Mum”, so far this year, with total reported losses of $2.6 million*.
With the “Hi Mum” or “family impersonation” scams, victims are contacted, usually through WhatsApp or by text message, by a scammer posing as the victim’s family member or friend asking for money to be transferred to them urgently to help them through a situation.
Coastline has seen the effects this scam is having on customers. In one situation, our customer received a What’s App message from a scammer claiming to be the customer’s relative, advising of his new mobile number. The scammer then engaged in a text conversation before asking for funds to be transferred to his account for urgent car repairs to help get his car back on the road.
Our member processed two separate payments to the scammer to the sum of approximately 5,000. These payments were confirmed legitimate by the customer with our staff after being triggered by fraud and funds were unable to be retrieved.
Unfortunately, scammers will stop at nothing to get your personal details and money. This scam is being targeted at women and older Australians. Scamwatch states that over 80% of these reported scams were made by people over the age of 55*. These scams are pulling at the victim’s heartstrings and are very calculated.
We ask our customers to remain vigilant, if you are contacted by someone claiming to be your loved ones from a number you don’t recognise, always try to call that loved one on the number you have stored in your phone to confirm if that number is in fact still in use. If your loved one answers the phone, you know that it is a scam.
If you are unable to make contact with the person using the number you have stored in your phone, try another contact method or ask the individual a personal question that a scammer wouldn’t be able to answer so that you are confident the person is who they say they are.
Never send money to anyone without being certain you know who you are sending it to.
Please reach out to your local Coastline branch or contact us on 1300 361 066 straight away if you are unsure about a requested transfer or if you believe you have been scammed. We are here to help and want to reassure you that your questions to us are never silly, we would rather you be safe than sorry.