There is a mum and dad scam doing the rounds on WhatsApp that you need to know about. Also known as the ‘hi dad’ or ‘hi mum’ scam, it has caught out many parents around the country. It involves tricking them into believing their children are in trouble and getting them to transfer money to scammers.
The scam has seen a big rise in activity recently and Trading Standards have warned people to be alert. It is thought that scammers have taken more than £1.5 million from unsuspecting parents in the last six months.
How does the mum and dad scam work?
The scam begins with a parent receiving a message on WhatsApp with the words “hi dad” or “hi mum”, then going on to explain that they have a new number. There then follows a story about how their child is in trouble and needs money for some reason. It can vary from being locked out on online banking and not being able to pay an urgent bill until they are set up with a login.
Once the parent agrees to pay the money, the scammer provides their bank details and requests a specific amount of money.
These scammers approached football commentator Jacqui Oatley’s mum. Thankfully, she became wise to the mum and dad scam. But she did get quite far down the line.
I’m keen to warn you about a scam which my lovely, kind mum so nearly fell for. It was incredibly believable. Someone pretends to be you but on a different number, contacts someone close to you and asks them to quickly pay a bill for you before you pay them back. Mum in green 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/SroiuftrpN
— Jacqui Oatley (@JacquiOatley) July 13, 2022
What to watch out for
The scam isn’t just a cut and paste affair. The scammer generally engages in conversation with the victim, picking up on the clues they drop inadvertently to sound more believable.
Authorities warned parents to be cautious if they receive a message from an unknown number claiming to be from their child. They advise you to take your time and check with your child on their regular number. The scammer will try and rush you to stop you thinking it through. Pause and consider whether what you are reading is real.
It is not the first scam to target dads on Whatsapp. Ahead of Father’s Day, police warned dads not to fall for a message offering free crates of beer.