Globally, cybermoney fraud is on the rise. There have been numerous reports of scammers duping people and emptying their bank accounts. It might be an ATM card scam, a UPI scam, or a SIM exchange scam. And just when we think we’ve seen it all, something new is uncovered that reveals exactly how far fraudsters will go.
Another tragic case has been reported from Australia, where fraudsters are now posing as victims’ family members and begging them to send money under the guise of losing their cell phones.
A brief about a new scam has cost WhatsApp users nearly Rs 54 crore
In this recently reported scam known as “Hi Mum” or “family impersonation,” scammers target victims via WhatsApp text messages. They contact family members and tell them that they need help because they have misplaced or damaged their phone and are attempting to contact them with a different number. When victims fall for their texts, they are asked to give money. According to an Independent article, many Australians have fallen victim to this new fraud and have lost more than $7 million (around Rs 57.84 crore).
According to reports, the fraudster would contact victims over WhatsApp, claiming they have misplaced or damaged their phone and are communicating with a new number. Once they have gained the victim’s trust, they will ask for personal information such as images for their social media profile or money to assist pay a bill or replace a phone.
They will further excuse the need for cash by claiming that they are unable to access monies using their cards because internet banking is temporarily closed or displaying difficulties.
According to the research, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has seen a considerable increase in ‘Hi Mum’ frauds, with over 1,150 people falling prey to the scam. People are said to have lost $2.6 million (about Rs 21 crore) in the last few months. $7.2 million (Rs 57.84 crore) was taken from at least 11,100 people in 2022 alone. And the majority of frauds are reported by women over the age of 55.
“Following a substantial increase in ‘Hi Mum’ scammers, we’re warning Australians to be weary of phone texts from a family member or friend stating they need aid. The scam affected over 1,150 people, with a total reported loss of $2.6 million “claimed the ACCC in a tweet.
The Australian government has warned residents to double-check the source of contact before sending money via dubious texts.
While this case was reported in Australia, Indians should view it as a wake-up call. India has also seen major growth in cyber fraud in recent years. A businessman from Delhi was recently duped, and roughly Rs 50 lakh was stolen from his various bank accounts. There have been numerous reports of SIM swapping, QR code scams, and phishing URLs going viral. So the best way to protect yourself from these cyber frauds is to be cautious and attentive.
How can you protect yourself against cyber fraud?
- Never give out your OTP to anyone.
- Never reveal your debit or credit card pin or CVV information to anybody, including family or friends.
- Never click on links supplied to you by an unknown source.
- Only visit secure and authorized websites.
- Always be on the lookout for strange logins and messages.
- Never keep your payment information on websites when shopping online.
- Always shop from reputable and certified websites.
- Always pick up calls from verified businesses and be wary of anyone who requests for your bank details, UPI data, or other personal information.
- Never trust anyone who calls and claims to be from the bank and requests your bank account information.
- And, if you come across someone who claims to be a friend or family member, always confirm their identity.