Brett’s Scam watch

Brett Levy

Unfortunately 2023 is not showing any signs of letting up when it comes to bad people trying to steal our money! 

As more companies are refusing to pay ransomware, the cyber-criminals need to find other places to extort their ill-gotten gains. 

So what’s the latest one that has come across my radar… It’s the “Help Mum” scam. A text message is sent with a “Help Mum” (or Nana) saying that your kid/grandkid is in trouble, their phone has been stolen and they have no money to get a ticket home, food, clothes etc.

Please can you send money to this person that is contacting on behalf of their kid and they will draw out the money from an ATM and give it to them. Now if we just pause for a minute.  Surely if this was legit then they would phone you and speak to you rather than get a stranger to send a text? The answer is yes, you are correct. But they have thought of this. They are not with your child at that moment as they are walking to the ATM waiting for you to transfer the funds. Again the red-lights should be going off, but alas, due to the urgency and panic that your child may be in harm’s way, stranded or starving, and all you have to do is send a quick payment via a link in the message, you push the button! 

Don’t trust anyone. Ask them to go back to your child and let you speak to them. They will probably respond a bit aggressively and tell you that they are doing you and your child a favour and that they don’t have time to waste etc. This again will confirm that it is a scam.

Pre-empt this situation. If the proposed situation ever occurs, tell your child to go to a retail store or policeman and get them to contact you from there. Then you will have a better outcome and won’t be parted from your money in a panic “Help Mum” scam.

Brett Levy