‘Hello mum, need cash’ text scam booms during summer holidays

Scammers are using the summer holidays to scam parents into thousands of pounds with a booming text scam posing as their children.

The new Kind in Not scam, also known as Hello Mom, Hello Dad, has skyrocketed over the past six months and is expected to spread further as youngsters start university in September, experts have warned .

As part of the ruse, victims receive a message from a random number pretending to be a son or daughter who lost their phone. Once the parents are convinced they are talking to their child and save the number on their phone, the scammers ask them to send money claiming they need it to pay down a debt.

Katherine Hart of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute warned scammers are taking advantage of the current summer vacation while teenagers and young adults are away from home.

“It becomes more plausible when the kids are at a festival or out with friends. Mom and Dad are in a heightened response at this point. The kids tend to use each other’s phones to text their parents, or it can be difficult to reach them,” she said.

But the cheating is expected to skyrocket in September when the youngsters start a new year at university, she warned.

Bank Santander’s Chris Ainsley said the fraud had evolved and now happened via traditional SMS or text messaging, as well as via the messaging app WhatsApp.

The original scam has become more sophisticated in recent months, with some scammers asking parents to transfer money to a friend or family member before it is then forwarded to the scammer, he said.

According to Action Fraud, the UK’s anti-fraud agency, between February and June this year, more than 1.5 million

Anyone who receives a text they suspect is from a scammer should ask personal questions that only their children would know, Ms Hart said. “Ask them their middle name or the color of your car or your front door,” she said.

Scammers may have personal information from a previous data breach, so they could know basic details like names or dates of birth. However, they will not know any personal information about daily life, Ms Hart said.

Barclays’ Ross Martin said scammers posing as someone’s child usually pretended to have an unpaid bill or to have lost their wallet. He said: “In these situations, scammers try to play on your emotions and instincts to try and help someone you care about. Remember, before you make a payment, verify that it’s who you think it is by calling them on a number you trust.”

Craig Mullish of the City of London Police, Britain’s leading financial crime police force, said: “If you receive a message like this from a friend or family member, do not send any money until you have had an opportunity to call them and confirm their identity. If you take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information, you can rest assured.” ‘Hello mum, need cash’ text scam booms during summer holidays

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