26 September 2023

‘Kids in trouble’ scams netting $$$$

Start the conversation

Consumer Protection from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is concerned at the growing number of parents falling for a text scam involving desperate messages for help from impostors pretending to be their son or daughter.

According to the Agency, in the past two months 47 reports have been received by its WA ScamNet, with 25 victims reportedly losing a total of almost $120,000.

It said one individual’s loss was as high as $19,810.

Authorities from other States have also received reports of losses from victims.

Acting Executive Director for Consumer Protection, Penny Lipscombe said the callers, supposedly from their son or daughter, firstly tell parents that their phone has been lost or damaged, or they’ve changed service providers and that’s why they are receiving messages from a different phone number.

“The messages received via text or Whatsapp usually start with ‘Hi Mum’ and continue to say they are in urgent need of money for various reasons,” Ms Lipscombe said.

“These include to pay for phone repairs or buy a new one; an urgent bill or rent because they can’t access their bank account, or living or travelling overseas requiring emergency funds because they are in trouble.”

Ms Lipscombe said this scam created urgency while pulling at heart strings.

“The scammers are capitalising on a parent’s strong desire to help out their children who are in financial trouble and the urgency robs them of time to question the situation they have been put in,” she said.

“We recommend parents receiving these texts to verify the sender by asking questions that only their child can answer.”

Alternatively they could call the original number saved in their contacts, not the new number, to verify that the phone wasn’t working.

“This action will reveal if it’s a scam before any money is sent and scammers profit from their deception,” Ms Lipscombe said.

Information and advice on how to deal with scams is available on the WA ScamNet website at this PS News link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.