Beware the Hi Mum Text Scam: A Sinister Ploy to Drain Parents’ Wallets

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Hit with a ‘Hi Mum’ text asking for cash? Be cautious—you might be facing a hi mum text scam. Con artists are exploiting our instinct to help our children by tricking parents into faking emergencies that bleed us dry financially. Our guide breaks down this hi mum text scam, exposes scammer tactics, and arms you with defensive strategies to keep your finances safe.

Key Takeaways

  • The Hi Mum text scam lures parents into sending money by pretending to be a family member in urgent need, using messaging platforms like WhatsApp and traditional texts to establish contact.

  • Scammers adapt their methods to convey urgency and emotional distress through crafted narratives, exploiting the victim’s emotional vulnerability and pressuring them into quick financial action.

  • To protect oneself, one should verify unusual requests, use two-factor authentication, regularly review credit reports, and report scam messages to the authorities or mobile carriers.

  • Creating a “safe word” only known to family, this can detect a bogus communication with a loved one.

Understanding – Hi Mum Text Scam

Illustration of a person receiving a text message - Depicting a Hi Mum Text Scam

The Hi Mum text scam begins with a simple text message. It may seem innocent at first, but it’s the first step in a carefully orchestrated attempt to defraud unsuspecting parents. The scam messages typically come from an unfamiliar number, with the sender claiming to be a family member who has switched phones due to loss or damage. The message may include common phrases or even mistakes to mimic genuine communication and lower the victim’s guard.

Once the fraudsters have established contact with family members, they typically get bank details and start to weave an intricate tale. Some common scenarios include the following tactics:

  • Your “son” has locked himself out of his home and urgently needs money for a locksmith

  • Your “daughter” has been involved in an accident and requires immediate financial help for medical bills

  • Your “grandchild” has been arrested and needs bail money

  • Your “relative” is stranded in a foreign country and needs money for a plane ticket

The possibilities are endless, but the goal is always the same: to exploit your emotional attachment and sense of urgency to help a loved one in distress.

Bear in mind, these scams extend beyond just text messages. Fraudsters have also been known to use platforms like WhatsApp to transfer money immediately. The key is to stay vigilant and always verify any requests to transfer money immediately, even if they seem to come from a trusted source.

How scammers operate

Scammers, or fraudsters manage to enhance their deception by being able to access the chat history of the person they’re impersonating. This allows them to mimic the person’s voice, writing style and use personal information to bolster their credibility. However, the ultimate goal remains the same: to convince the victim to send money transfer cash, supposedly to help them out of a fabricated or imaginary difficult financial situation or crisis.

The scammers craft narratives designed to elicit a quick financial response from the victim. For example, one victim was tricked into transferring money for emergency car repairs, as the scammer posed as the victims friend in urgent need. In most cases, the scammers leverage urgency and emotional manipulation to pressure their victims into complying and transfer money immediately.

Despite the sophistication of these scams, there are red flags that can help you spot them. We’ll soon highlight some common signs that may indicate you’re dealing with a scammer.

Protect yourself from scammers, read our informative blog on protecting yourself from the latest scams in 2024.

The Evolution from WhatsApp to Text Messages

Illustration of a smartphone with WhatsApp and text message icons - Hi Mum Text Scam

While the Hi Mum text scam initially proliferated on WhatsApp, fraudsters have expanded their operations to include traditional text messages. This strategic shift broadens the scam’s reach to target potential victims who may not be proficient with modern messaging applications, such as the elderly.

As part of this evolution, scammers have adapted their strategies to suit the new communication medium. For instance, criminals posing as family members might send text messages claiming they’ve broken their phone or create narratives where older parents claim to be in predicaments needing urgent money transfers.

Interestingly, scammers often inital a conversation claiming to be from a friend’s phone, via text message and later suggest moving the conversation to WhatsApp for continued ongoing conversations. This encrypted platform complicates tracking and tracing measures, providing an additional layer of protection for the fraudsters, especially when using a friends phone to send money or a voice note.

Given the constant evolution of these scams, staying updated and informed is paramount through ongoing conversations with consumer experts.

Discover how to protect yourself from WhatsApp Scammers, read our easy to read informative article.

Recognising Red Flags: Signs of a Scam

Illustration of red flags with caution signs - Hi Mum Text Scam

There are several red flags that can enable you to identify a potential scam, this is despite the cunning tactics employed by scammers. One of the most common tactic is the creation of urgency. Scammers often claim they’re locked out of their bank account or the banking system, or that their phone is damaged, pressuring you to act quickly without questioning the validity of their request.

Another common tactic is emotional manipulation. Scammers may impersonate someone you know and use emotional appeals to convince you of the legitimacy of their request. Furthermore, scam texts may come from unknown numbers, include a new number to contact your old phone, or use a long phone number, often with 10 or 11 digits.

Finally, be wary of messages that contain shortened or scrambled links and have spelling or grammar mistakes. These are often telltale signs that the message is not legitimate. If you spot these red flags, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not engage with the message sender.

Protecting Yourself and Your Bank Account

Photo of a person using two-factor authentication on a smartphone

Living by the old adage, prevention is better than cure, when it comes to scams, the best defence is to stay vigilant and take proactive measures to protect yourself and your financial assets. One crucial step is to always verify requests through official channels before acting on them. Remember, genuine organisations will not ask for personal information or bank account details via email or phone call.

Another important measure is to regularly review your credit report. This can alert you to potential unauthorised access to your financial data or personal bank details elsewhere. If you suspect a scam or hacking incident, report the fraud immediately to your bank to freeze the account and possibly recover funds. You should also notify Action Fraud to help them track and prevent such scams from happening to others, ensuring your bank account details remain secure.

One notably powerful protective measure is two-factor authentication, which we’ll discuss further.

Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security mechanism that requires users to authenticate their identity using two distinct forms of identification, such as a password and a physical token or biometric. The components used in 2FA include knowledge factors like passwords or PINs, possession factors such as a phone or hardware token, and inherence factors like fingerprints or facial recognition.

By requiring two forms of identification, 2FA provides an additional layer of defence, significantly reducing the likelihood of unauthorised access and fortifying the security of user accounts. To enable 2FA, users must select an authentication method, activate 2FA in the security settings of their account, and securely preserve any backup access codes they’re given.

By implementing 2FA, you can add an extra layer of security to your digital accounts, making it much harder for scammers to gain access to your bank account.

Create a secret safe word for you and your family

To safeguard against the Hi Mum text scam, families should consider establishing a unique ‘safe word’. This safe word, known only within the family circle, acts as a secret code or password. In situations where a family member supposedly sends an urgent request, the recipient can ask for this safe word to verify the sender’s identity.

It’s essential to choose a word or phrase that’s unusual and not easily guessed by outsiders, and to ensure all family members remember it.

By implementing this simple yet effective security measure, families can create an additional layer of protection against these emotionally manipulative scams. This strategy not only helps in immediately identifying scam attempts but also reinforces family bonds through a shared commitment to each other’s safety and wellbeing.

Reporting and Blocking Scam Messages

Illustration of reporting scam messages

If you stumble upon a scam message, ensure to report it to the relevant authorities. In England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, individuals should report scam messages to Action Fraud through their website or by calling their helpline. If you’re in Scotland, you should report scam messages to Police Scotland via phone.

In addition to notifying the authorities, you can also alert mobile phone companies by forwarding suspicious text messages to the number 7726. This service is provided free of charge. If you receive a scam message on WhatsApp, you can block the contact by navigating to ‘Settings’, ‘Privacy’, and then ‘Blocked contacts’. You can also report a possible scam to the contact by opening the chat, tapping ‘More options’, ‘More’, and then ‘Report’.

By reporting scam messages, you’re not only protecting yourself but also helping others by making it harder for scammers to operate.

Preventive Measures: Educating Family and Friends

Alongside personal vigilance, spreading awareness carries equal importance among your family and friends. Sharing information on social media or in personal conversations can help others become more vigilant. Encouraging open dialogue about scams can remove stigma, making it easier for individuals to report and seek help if they encounter fraud.

Its important that you:

  • Share your experiences

  • Assist others in reporting and recognising scams

  • Advise loved ones to trust their instincts when facing suspicious communications

  • Empower them to take the right steps, such as stopping any action, not clicking any links, and reporting the incident.

Real-Life Stories: Victims of the Scam

The ramifications of the Hi Mum text scam are indeed significant. In Australia alone, this scam resulted in over 11,000 reported incidents and financial losses of over $7.2 million in 2022. In the UK, consumers lost almost £500,000 to the Hi Mum WhatsApp scam in just the first five months of 2023.

These statistics are not just numbers – they represent real people who have been duped out of their hard-earned money. For instance, Valerie, a 73-year-old ex-police woman, lost £2,000 to a scammer, stating that even savvy individuals are not immune to these frauds. These stories serve as a stark reminder of the emotional and financial devastation that these scams can cause.

Summary – Hi Mum Text Scam

In conclusion, the Hi Mum text scam is a sinister ploy that exploits emotional bonds to defraud unsuspecting parents. By posing as loved ones in distress, scammers manipulate victims into transferring money from thier bank accounts and straight into the new (scammer) accounts, often causing significant financial and emotional harm.

However, with knowledge and vigilance, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from becoming victim. By recognising the red flags, implementing protective measures like two-factor authentication, and reporting suspicious messages, we can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to these scams.

Finally, it’s important to spread awareness and encourage open dialogue about scams. By educating our own family members and friends, we can all play a part in combating fraud and creating a safer digital environment for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you click on a Smishing text?

If you click on a Smishing or suspicious text message, you may be directed to a fake website aiming to steal your personal information or install malicious software on your device. It’s important to avoid clicking on any suspicious text message or links and to reach out to the legitimate organisation or company through known contact information if you have concerns about your account.

Is this phone number a scammer check?

You can use tools like Instant Checkmate or a simple Google search to identify an unknown number or suspicious phone numbers and protect yourself from potential scammers. By searching the number, you can uncover important details and determine if it’s a possible scam call.

Why am I getting unsolicited texts?

You are likely typically start getting unsolicited texts as scammers are using new phone, trying to obtain your personal information, such as passwords and account numbers, which could potentially lead to unauthorized access to your accounts. It’s essential to block unknown number and report the numbers without responding to protect your personal information.

What is the scam text that says hi?

The scam text that says “hi” is a common tactic used by scammers to initiate a conversation and may lead to further attempts to transfer money, gain sympathy or establish a friendly connection. It’s important to be cautious and avoid engaging in ongoing conversations with these messages.

How can I protect myself from the Hi Mum text scam?

To protect yourself from the “Hi Mum” scam, stay vigilant, verify requests for money, monitor your financial data, and secure your accounts with two-factor authentication.

Useful Reference Websites

  1. Action Fraud ( As the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting center, Action Fraud offers detailed information on current scams, including text-based scams like the “Hi Mum” scam.
  2. National Cyber Security Centre ( Part of the UK Government, this site provides guidance on how to stay secure online, including dealing with phishing and scam texts.
  3. Citizens Advice ( Offers comprehensive advice on dealing with scams, including text message scams, and provides guidance on how to report them.
  4. Financial Conduct Authority ( The FCA website includes warnings about financial scams and advice on how to avoid falling victim to them.
  5. Ofcom ( As the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom provides information about phone, broadband, and media scams, including those involving text messages.
  6. BBC Watchdog ( The BBC’s consumer rights program often covers various scams, including text message scams, offering insights and real-life case studies.
  7. The Telegraph – Scam Watch ( This section of the newspaper’s website often features articles on current scams, including those involving text messages.
  8. UK Finance ( Represents the UK banking and finance industry and provides updates and advice on financial scams, including those involving deceptive text messages.
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With over three decades of experience in the heart of London’s financial sector, I have dedicated my career to the pursuit of robust cybersecurity practices and IT leadership. As a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table.

My journey in the field of cybersecurity has not only been about personal growth but also about sharing my insights with others. As an international speaker, I have had the privilege of addressing audiences worldwide, discussing the importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital age. My passion for knowledge sharing extends to my work as an author and blogger, where I delve into the complexities of cybersecurity, offering practical advice and thought leadership.

In my role as a CISO and Head of IT, I have overseen the development and implementation of comprehensive information security and IT strategies. My focus has always been on creating resilient systems capable of withstanding the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

My Master’s degree in Cybersecurity has provided a solid academic foundation, which, when combined with my practical experience, allows me to approach cybersecurity from a holistic perspective.

I am always open to connecting with other professionals in the field, sharing knowledge, and exploring new opportunities. Let’s secure the digital world together.