The friend-in-need scam (also known as ‘Hi Mum’ or ‘Hi Dad’) is a popular method of fraud in which a scammer texts from an unknown number, posing as a friend or family member. The scam is particularly effective as it preys on people’s kindness and desire to help their friends and family. These scam messages may come through via WhatsApp, iMessage, or text messages (SMS).
Typically, the scammer, posing as a friend or family member, begin the message with ‘Hello Mum’ or ‘Hello Dad’ – sent from an unknown number. They will then tell the recipient they are texting from a new number as their phone was lost or damaged, going on to ask for money to purchase a new phone or claim they need money urgently for another reason, such as to pay a bill.
Sometimes the scam can also occur when a scammer hacks someone’s WhatsApp, instant messaging account, gaining access to their contacts and sending the request directly from the compromised account – therefore appearing as if the message comes from a known number. The friend’s account is genuine but the message itself is from a scammer. The scammer might ask directly for personal information, money and the recipients’ banking details. The fraudster will then supply details of a bank account for the person to send the payment to with some scammers returning for further demands of money.
- Call your son, daughter, or friend directly to confirm if they have sent you a message
- Never send money without verbal confirmation from the person over the phone.
- Never give personal details or banking details to someone you do not know.
- Do not click on a link included in WhatsApp, iMessage, or text messages (SMS).