Hey mommy scam script: melbourne man arrested and charged

A Melbourne man has been charged with using an infamous ‘Hi Mum’ fraudulent text message to scam victims out of a ‘large sum of money’.

The scam involves victims of cybercriminals texting purporting to be their children who have lost or damaged their phone – thus using an unfamiliar number – and urgently requesting money to help them.

On Friday, after a six-week investigation, Victoria Police arrested a 21-year-old man from Templestowe, in north-east Melbourne, charging him with five counts of obtaining property by deception.

Police said the alleged fraudulent transactions took place between 3 and 7 December in Ringwood, Nar Warren, Mill Park, Mitcham and Doncaster East.

Victoria Police said: “It is alleged that electronic goods were obtained in person using false documents and a large sum of money was obtained as part of the ‘Hi Mum’ SMS scam.”

The man is due to appear in Ringwood Magistrates Court on July 18.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said more than 1,150 Australians fell victim to the “Hi Mum” scam in the first seven months of 2022, losing $2.6 million.

A Sydney woman recently told how she nearly fell for a cruel scam after a cybercriminal sent her a text message posing as her eldest son.

She was given a detailed story of how her “son” needed help making an online payment, and came close to sending the scammer $5,000.

But after a moment of doubt, she managed to expose the scam by asking a simple question about her children’s grandfather that the scammer couldn’t answer.

“It was just a little voice who thought, ‘Is this really him?'” the mother told NCA NewsWire. “

“I felt really bad when I asked him the first time. I could feel myself cringing. When he didn’t answer it the first time, I thought something was going on because that must be slipping off his tongue.”

ACCC Vice President Delia Rickard said it was important to independently check suspicious messages, possibly by contacting the sender through some other form of communication, or asking questions to confirm their identity.

“We are warning Australians to be very wary of messages from unknown numbers purporting to be from their children, parents, relatives or friends,” she said.

“Scammers will stop at nothing to get your personal data or your money, and this scam is designed to capture your hearts.

“It’s important to stop and think if you receive a message, especially on WhatsApp, because it’s likely not your family member or friend – it’s a scammer.

“Above all, never send money without being absolutely sure who you’re sending it to.”

— With Jessica Wang and Adelaide Ling, NCA NewsWire

Originally published as Melbourne man charged in connection with cruel ‘Hi Mum’ text scam

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