Victoria Police have charged a Melbourne man for his alleged involvement in the “Hi Mum” text message scam that has fleeced million from unsuspecting victims.
The scam has been doing the rounds for quite some time with authorities claiming “the losses accumulated by Australian victims of this scam easily surpasses $2 million”.
The scam involves the offender sending a text message from an unknown mobile phone number to the potential victim while falsely claiming to be their son or daughter.
The message states they’ve lost their phone, explaining to the victim that they’re communicating from their new number before prompting them to delete the old number.
Once the victim is drawn into conversation, the scammer will ask to borrow money or have a payment made on their behalf alongside the excuse that they need it due to the unavailability of online banking on the new device.
The offender will usually state it’s a matter of urgency before providing details for the payment and a promise to pay the money back
Once the funds are fraudulently obtained the scammers will often move the money from bank accounts into cryptocurrency, meaning victims are unlikely to get their money back.
Doncaster Police have arrested and charged a Templestowe man following alleged online scam incidents.
— Victoria Police (@VictoriaPolice) January 21, 2023
Authorities have now charged a 21 year old man from Templestowe, in relation to the scam, with five counts of obtaining property by deception on Friday, January 20 following a six week investigation by police.
“The incidents relate to alleged fraudulent transactions having occurred over online marketplaces between 3-7 December 2022 in Ringwood, Narre Warren, Mill Park, Mitcham and Doncaster East,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
“It’s alleged electronic goods were obtained in person using false documents and a substantial amount of money was obtained under the ‘Hi Mum’ scam via SMS.”
The 21 year old is expected to appear at Ringwood Magistrates’ Court on July 18.
— NSW Police Force (@nswpolice) August 5, 2022
While alerting the public to the scam in early 2022, Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Matthew Craft said “the demographic of victims is predominately aged over 55, and sadly, many parents are falling victim because they’re simply nice people who are concerned for their child’s welfare.”
“Victims of the ‘Hi Mum’ scam date back to at least October last year overseas, but since May, we’ve seen a significant increase in reports not just here in NSW, but jurisdictions across Australia,” Craft said.
“We encourage people to look out for suspicious behaviours demonstrated by these scammers; including their failure to personalise any communication and excuses as to why they can’t speak on the phone.
“If you receive a suspicious message on your mobile, particularly through social media or encrypted messaging, reach out to your relative by an alternative method of communication or call to confirm it is in fact them.
“In just a matter of months, the losses accumulated by Australian victims of this scam easily surpasses $2 million when you consider the significant underreporting by victims of cybercrime generally.”