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Cruel new twist on well-known ‘hi mum’ WhatsApp scam revealed

Hackers have revamped a heart-wrenching scam which is currently making the rounds among innocent WhatsApp users in the UK.

It is nicknamed the ‘son-and-daughter’ scam.


Scammers are pretending to be elderly parentsCredit: getty images

When online scamming spiked during Covid-19 lockdowns in the UK, a trend emerged whereby scammers would pretend to be a victim’s child on ‘a friends phone’ and in a cash crisis.

Innocent victims would then send cash over to fake bank details supplied by the scammers.

But now, cyber crooks have added a twist to the popular scam.

Scammers are instead pretending to be elderly parents.

Chris Ainsley, head of fraud risk management at Santander, told Money Mail: “As the mum-and-dad scam has become better known and less effective, fraudsters are reversing the scenario.

“The scam itself is more or less the same in nature.

“They are impersonating someone you know, in the knowledge you are unlikely to give a person in the street money but if it’s family you might. It’s insidious.”

Ainsley said that it’s “all about familiarity” and exploiting close relationships.

If not impersonating an elderly parent, scammers might try a tactic called ‘number spoofing’.

This is when a message appears to have arrived from a number save in your phone.

But in reality, hackers have used technology to disguise the display name instead of coming up as an unknown number.

In the first half of 2022, trade association UK Finance found over 5000 mobile devices infected with malware.

This resulted in an eyewatering £15.7million being lost to cyber crime from the pockets of Brits – which equates to around £3,000 down the drain for the average customer affected by malware.

Just yesterday, NatWest told customers that they were eligible for free cybersecurity software, MalwareBytes, in a bid to combat cyber crime.

Malware is software with the purpose of gaining unauthorised access to data, such as personal details or banking information.

“We are committed to helping our customers stay safe and secure and are continuously investing in new fraud prevention tools and the latest security technology,” said Stuart Skinner, head of fraud protection at the bank.

“I urge you to download MalwareBytes today, to help ensure you are doing everything possible to protect yourself against this crime.”

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