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WhatsApp users lose over Rs 54 crore to a new scam, here is what happened

GRDAJ 19.Dec.22:

Cyber money frauds are increasing across the globe. We are coming across many incidents where scammers are tricking people and emptying their bank accounts.

Be it an ATM card scam, UPI scam or Sim swap scam. And just when we think we have seen enough, there is something new which is reported and comes as a shocker about how far fraudsters can go. Bringing another shocker, a new case has been reported from Australia, where fraudsters are now posing as family members of victims and asking them to send money under the pretext of losing their mobile phones.

In this recently reported scam called 'Hi Mum' or "family impersonation," fraudsters are targeting victims on WhatsApp text. Imposing close friends or family members, they contact the family members and tell them that they need help as they have lost or damaged their phone, and are trying to contact them with a different number. Once the victims fall prey to their texts, they ask them to send money. According to a report by the Independent, Many Australians have fallen victim to this new scam and have lost over $7 million (around Rs 57.84 crore).

What is 'Hi Mum' scam

According to reports, the scammer will contact victims on WhatsApp and will claim they have lost or damaged their phone and are making contact with a new number. Once they develop trust with the victim they ask for personal information such as photos for their social media profile or money to help urgently pay a bill to someone or to replace the phone.

They will further justify the need for funds by saying that they can't access via their cards as the online banking is temporarily closed or showing errors.

The report further cites that the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has noted a significant rise in 'Hi Mum' scams and more than 1,150 people fell victim to the scam. Reportedly, people lost around $2.6 million, around Rs 21 crore, in the past few months. In 2022 alone, $7.2m (Rs 57.84 crore) was stolen from at least 11,100 victims. And most cases of scams are reported by women who are above the age of 55.

"We're urging Australians to be wary of phone messages from a family member or friend claiming they need help, following a significant rise in 'Hi Mum' scams. More than 1,150 people fell victim to the scam, with total reported losses of $2.6 million," said ACCC in its Twitter post.

The Australian authorities have urged citizens to verify the source of contact before transferring money via suspicious messages.

While this case was reported in Australia, it should be taken as a call, a warning by Indians too. India is also reporting a significant increase in cyber fraud in the last few years. Recently, a businessman from Delhi was tricked and around Rs 50 Lakh was cleaned from his several bank accounts. Many cases of SIM swapping, QR code scams, and phishing links have been going viral. So the only way to keep yourself safe from these cyber frauds is to take precautions and be aware.

How to stay safe from cyber fraud

•Never share your OTP with anyone.

•Never disclose your debit or credit card pin and CVV number to anyone, be it your family or friends.

•Never click on links sent by unknown contact.

•Only browse through secure and authorised websites.

•Always be vigilant about suspicious logins, and messages.

•During online shopping never save your payment details on websites.

•Always shop from trusted and verified sites.

•Only pick up calls from verified businesses always beware when someone asks for your bank details, UPI details and other details.