Beware the 'Hi Mum' text - family impersonation scams 2022

Key points

  • Family impersonation scams are on the rise
  • Be alert if a family member suddenly contacts you on an unfamiliar phone number
  • Over 1150 Australians fell victim to these scams from Jan-July 2022

Scammers are nothing if not consistent. They’re always finding new ways to encourage you to drop your defences and hand over your personal information, and the recent rise in 'Hi Mum' scams is no different.

‘Hi Mum’ or ‘family impersonation’ scams involve a scammer sending a text to your phone from an unfamiliar number, pretending to be a family member that lost or damaged their phone and now has a new number.

Then, once they have successfully convinced you they are who they say they are, they will ask you for personal information or money. They will often claim they need the money because they can’t access their banking accounts due to their damaged old phone.

Some scam text messages may just say something simple like “it’s me”, however it is possible for scammers to have the name and other information of the person they are impersonating, to build rapport more convincingly with their victims.

Scamwatch has advised that these scams have resulted in total reported losses of $2.6 million, with over 1,150 Australians falling victim in the first seven months of 2022.

At Bank of us, we’re encouraging our customers to be wary of texts like these, and know what to do if you think you may have been contacted by a scammer:

  1. If you receive one of these messages, the ACCC recommends speaking to the contact the scammer is claiming to be independently to confirm. You can start by calling or texting the number you already have saved in your phone, and if they answer, then you can be sure it’s a scam.
  2. If they don’t answer, contact them through another channels, such as social media or in person.
  3. If you still can’t contact them, then you can ask them a personal question the scammer wouldn’t know the answer to, like a personal inside joke.

We strongly encourage our customers to not send money to anyone, even close friends and family, until they know with 100% certainty who is going to receive it.

Stay safe!