There's a text scam going around that's targeting unsuspecting parents and grandparents. Communicating mainly through WhatsApp, these scammers are impersonating victims' loved ones, saying that their phone has been dropped or smashed to justify using a new number. The scammer then asks for financial assistance and to transfer money to a new account.
The SMS message sent by scammers will usually say that they are texting from a new mobile number as their phone was lost or damaged, and will ask for money to purchase a new device, or claim that they need money urgently to pay a bill.
The scammer won't use any identifying information, including their own name, instead referencing themselves as 'your eldest child' as well as saying things like 'hi Mum and hi Dad.' If you ask to call them, they'll often come up with an excuse, such as their phone doesn't work or there's something wrong with video chat.
What to do
In order to make sure you don't get tricked, it's important to stay aware and if something feels off, to verify that the message is actually coming from a loved one.
In order to avoid the scam you must:
Note down the number that messaged you, but do not send any money until you can verify and confirm that this is your family member
Call or text your child's or grandchild's mobile to verify
If you can't get through to the number, check with another family member
If you do discover it's a scam, report it to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Scamwatch
Queensland Police Detective Superintendent Mike Newman suggested that parents should set up a multi-factor authentication with family members to have a cyber security password. This allows for confirmation of the person's identity.
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All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.