Welcome to International Fraud Awareness Week: Day Two focusing on fake SMS or WhatsApp messaging – often referred to as the ‘Dear Mum/Dad Scam.’
This scam involves fraudsters posing as family members to manipulate victims into transferring money.
Parents are targeted by criminals pretending to be one of their children, saying they are texting from a new number as their phone has been lost or damaged.
They typically begin the conversation with “Hello Mum” or “Hello Dad” and then ask for their parents to transfer money urgently as they need to buy a new phone or pay a bill.
Typically, the conversation on WhatsApp, or via text message, is started by an automated bot, and then forwarded to a human who can communicate with the victim if they engage.
Some conversations can go on over a number of days because they believe that, if they can really dupe those people, it might be worth it!!
Impersonating family members is a new tactic by criminals to undermine people’s mental safeguards against being defrauded.
These scammers believe if you can add the psychological element into a scam, they work far better than the previously used phishing emails which were issued in bulk to numerous people at the one time
When you are called Mum or Dad, that is what many people would have in their phonebook. Preying on the heartstrings by saying they have lost their phone – it fits in with the usual conversation that goes on between parents
Please be aware It is easy for criminals to obtain a database of names, phone numbers and dates of birth through the dark web and social media channels.
WhatsApp is designed to protect people from unwanted contact, which is why, whenever you get a message from someone who isn’t in your contacts, it should ask if you want to block or report them.
KEY ADVICE: DON’T respond to messages or urgent payment requests from unknown numbers claiming to be a family member. If in doubt speak directly with the family member to validate the request before taking any further action.
If you believe you have been a victim of these message types, or if you have any concerns regarding your Current Account or Debit Card activity, contact your Credit Union or Credit Union Card Services on +353(1)6933333.